Free Macbeth Essays : Guilt And Conscience

Free Macbeth Essays : Guilt And Conscience

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A person’s guilt and conscience plays a significant role in the decisions he or she makes. The strength of a person’s conscience varies. Some people’s conscience is not as prominent as others, therefore they do not feel as much guilt as a person who has a strong conscience. By ignoring the voices in your head and making rash decisions, the person’s ability to feel guilt can eventually fade over time. They can become ruthless and inhumane. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, gives an example of how guilt and conscience changed the main character Macbeth from a loyal to a power-hungry man.
Previously to the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth lived as a loyal, and honorable man. He never thought of assassinating his beloved King. It was only when the witches predicted his prosperity in the future added with his wife’s manipulation, that he considered murder. In Act One, Macbeth says to himself, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition.” (1. 7. 25). Macbeth had no reason to kill King Duncan other than obtaining the crown. He pondered at the rational reasons why he should kill the King, but came up with nothing. The King had been kind to Macbeth. He promoted him to Thane of Cawdor, and proclaimed Macbeth a national hero. After much thought, he came to the morally right decision to not kill the King. His conscience and thoughts at this time had not yet clouded his judgement.
However, when Macbeth told his wife he wanted to back down from the plan to murder the king, she questioned and belittled his masculinity. In Act One, when Lady Macbeth challenged his manliness, he told her, “I dare do all that may become a man.” (1. 7. 46). Giving into his wife’s words proves that he is easily influenced by those he holds dea...


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... that Macduff’s family will be any harm to Macbeth’s reign yet he still decided to murder them. This time, after the deed was done, he did not feel remorse for their deaths, nor did he feel sorry for them. He only cared about maintaining his power. He became so power-hungry that his conscience was muted, which caused him to believe murdering Macduff’s family was the right thing to do.
Throughout the course of the play, Macbeth changes from being consumed by his guilt and conscience to being devoured by his lust for power. Macbeth’s guilt affected him by driving him mad. He imagined things that were not there like Banquo’s ghost, and he became paranoid about losing his crown. Eventually, his conscience deteriorated as he continually ignoring it. As his human conscience withered to nothingness, he became immuned to his feelings of guilt. Greed became his only emotion.

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