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The Inner-Conflict Effect In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Inner-Conflict Effect When we, human beings, are about to commit wicked acts, we feel a variety of emotions. One of those emotions is guilt. You may also feel guilt due to moments you chose not to act. The presence of guilt is a driving factor that prevents us from acting irrationally. Citizens of the 16th century possessed these emotions as well, no matter their social standing. The citizens included Shakespeare as well, a poet and playwright of the 16th century, and writer of the play Macbeth. Shakespeare transfers the idea of negative emotions to Macbeth by using blood to symbolize guilt, among other emotions in the protagonists they do not show otherwise. In Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses blood to show the inner-conflict of the…show more content…
Shakespeare first displays this idea in Act 2 where Macbeth states, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.” (II II 61-64) Macbeth figuratively states that his hands are so bloody, even the entire ocean could not cleanse them. Rather, they would make the ocean red. Macbeth’s speech takes place after Duncan’s murder. The quote is important as it shows Macbeth’s guilt over the murder, and how it haunts him. Macbeth gradually loses his sanity and questions if his decision was correct. Through this quote, you are able to see Macbeth’s vulnerability and more humane side. Shakespeare communicates that if negative emotions are not confronted, they will consume and relentlessly haunt them. The idea is again demonstrated in Act 5 where Macbeth says, “Of all men else I have avoided thee But get thee back. My soul is too much charged With blood of thine already.” (V VIII 4-6) Macbeth directs this speech to Macduff, vocalizing how he wished to not confront him again. This quote happens subsequently after Macduff locates Macbeth. They fight following the speech, in which Macduff triumphs. Macbeth fears fighting Macduff because it could result in his hands being stained with even more of the Macduffs’ blood. Macbeth can not find it in himself to become detached from his emotions,…show more content…
This is first shown in Act 2 where Macbeth begins his monologue, “I see thee still, And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, Which was not so before. There’s no such thing.” (II I 46-48) Before reuniting with Lady Macbeth, Macbeth sees a bloody dagger floating in the air. The dagger appears shortly before Macbeth proceeds to murder Duncan. The dagger in this instance is used to symbolize Macbeth’s hesitation as at this point in time, Macbeth could have chosen to turn back and abandon his pursuit to becoming king. Macbeth chose to persist however, and the blood covering the dagger was a prognostication of the crime he would soon commit. Shakespeare imparts here that emotions like hesitation are meant to be pondered over, not skimmed over. Macbeth took reckless actions, and his abysmal situation reflects that. Macbeth’s inner-conflict is further shown in Act 4 where he states, “For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me And points at them for his.” (IV I 129-130) Macbeth is visibly shaken by the sudden appearance of a bloody Banquo. The appearance of Banquo is due to the three witches summoning him by ceremony, much to Macbeth’s dismay. Macbeth’s petrified reaction tells of how he is still constantly tormented by his murdering of Banquo. Macbeth begins to shout and command for Banquo to disappear. The summoning of Banquo continues to tell of Macbeth’s human nature
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