Macbeth's Conscience in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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William Shakespeare’s seventeenth century tragedy, Macbeth, tells the story of Macbeth, whose ambition leads him to murder his close friends. In the play, he is told that he will become king, but to speed up the process he is convinced to kill the current king, Duncan. Although he is portrayed as a vile, evil character, the scene before he murders Duncan, his thoughts after the murder, and his encounters with his friend’s ghost show that Macbeth truly is a man of conscience.

After his wife encourages Macbeth to kill King Duncan when he visits their home, Macbeth truly considers the idea. Shakespeare allows his character to mull over the act and consequences in a soliloquy which, “not only weighs the possible bad practical consequences of his act but shows him perfectly aware, in a way an evil man would not be, of moral values involved:

‘First I am his kinsman and subject

Strong as both against the deed, then as his host,

Who should against his murderers shut the door

Not bear the knife myself’” (Scott 156)

Macbeth is fully aware of the crime he commits. Before comm...
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