Impact of Guilt on MacBeth

Impact of Guilt on MacBeth

Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Impact of Guilt on MacBeth

What is guilt and what major impact does it have in the play Macbeth by William
Shakespeare? Guilt is defined as the fact or state of having offended someone or something. Guilt may cause a person to have trouble sleeping and difficulty in relationships with others. The effects of guilt tie into Macbeth with the theme of night
and darkness. Guilt causes the main characters’ consciences to overcome them mentally
and physically causing their downfalls. In the tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare,
the recurring theme of night and darkness is used to symbolize guilt and conscience such
as when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth want the darkness to conceal their evil deeds and in
the end, when Lady Macbeth is afraid of the darkness and nighttime.

In Act I, after King Duncan names Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth
is already plotting to kill Duncan. He asks the darkness to come and hide his evil deeds
so no one would see the terrible thing he was about to do. He says “Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be which the eye fears, when it is done, to see” (Act I, scene iv, ll.50-53). This is demonstrated again after the murder of Banquo when Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth
“Come, seeling night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, and with thy bloody and
invisible hand cancel and tear to pieces that great bond which keeps me pale”(Act III,
scene ii, ll.46-50). This quote from the play also shows the importance of night and
darkness to Macbeth’s plot of killing Banquo. He is asking the night to come and hide
and cover up the things he has done to Banquo. These examples from Macbeth show that
throughout the play, Macbeth wants the darkness to conceal his evil deeds.

Lady Macbeth also asks the night to come upon her and hide her by the darkest
smoke of hell. She doesn’t want to be seen as she and Macbeth commit their terrible
deeds. She wants the night to hide her thoughts and actions about killing Duncan while
she is reading Macbeth’s letter. She says “Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, not heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, to cry ‘Hold, hold’!” (Act I, scene v, ll.50-54). She is already planning the murder of Duncan long before her husband’s return.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Impact of Guilt on MacBeth." 26 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

To What Extent Does the Impact of Guilt on the Characters Similar in Macbeth and An Inspector Calls?

- ... This is because she does not lie to the Inspector and abides to her mistakes. This is a contrast between the two characters because Lady Macbeth does not unveil her guilt, unlike Sheila who has given in to her guilty conscience. Linking to audience of 1945, they must have acknowledged that Sheila is very feminine and ‘girlish’. During the war, men went away and fought, leaving behind the Women. Women almost ran the country. They did jobs that men usually do and also jobs that men don't do: like making weaponry and utilities that are essential for men at war....   [tags: Shakespeare plays analysis]

Research Papers
1233 words (3.5 pages)

To Consider the Impact of Guilt across the Shakespeare´s Macbeth and J.B. Priestley´s An Inspector Calls

- ... But, she says 'we'll not fail', showing that she is very clear and sure that she can carry out the deed. Shakespeare is linking this to the “Gunpowder Plot” just to gain the King’s attention about what’s going on in the country as people are planning to kill him and also not to trust anyone. The audience will feel that Lady Macbeth is going against nature and they will feel that she is cold-hearted as killing the King is just like killing God. However, in “An Inspector Calls” Priestley also presents Sheila cruel nature but as feminine at the time of getting Eva fired through her speeches....   [tags: sleepwalk, changes, dying, social]

Research Papers
1776 words (5.1 pages)

The Pent-up Guilt in Macbeth Essay

- The Pent-up Guilt in Macbeth       There is hardly any emotion in William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth that outweighs that of guilt. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are seriously compromised by the impact of this emotion.   Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare explain how guilt impacts Lady Macbeth:   Having sustained her weaker husband, her own strength gives way; and in sleep, when her will cannot control her thoughts, she is piteously afflicted by the memory of one stain of blood upon her little hand.  (792)   In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye sees a relationship between Macbeth's guilt and his hall...   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Research Papers
1716 words (4.9 pages)

The Pent-up Guilt in Macbeth Essay

- The Pent-up Guilt in Macbeth      There is hardly any emotion in William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth that outweighs that of guilt. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are seriously compromised by the impact of this emotion.   Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare explain how guilt impacts Lady Macbeth:   Lady Macbeth is of a finer and more delicate nature. Having fixed her eye upon the end - the attainment for her husband of Duncan's crown - she accepts the inevitable means; she nerves herself for the terrible night's work by artificial stimulants; yet she cannot strike the sleeping king who resembles her father....   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Free Essays
3107 words (8.9 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Madeleine L’Engle once said, “Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person”. By not allowing someone to make their own decisions, right or wrong, you are taking away their freedom to understand the evolution of their thoughts and desires. Manipulation, as Madeleine L’Engle stated so eloquently, is a way to treat others as puppets and not as a person with the right to make their own choices in life....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth, Macbeth]

Research Papers
1547 words (4.4 pages)

Troubles Within The Brain : William Shakespeare 's Macbeth Essay

- Troubles within the Brain William Shakespeare incorporated many influential characters throughout “Macbeth”. Lady Macbeth would be by far the most important character. Her attitude reflects ambition, strength of will, cruelty, and dissimulation. Shakespeare makes her start out as a character with great determination, having no fear in what is done. However as we soon realize that Macbeth is very opposite, he shows timidness, self-doubt, but is also filled with bravery and ambition. As time goes on, the rolls of each character start to shift, Lady Macbeth becomes all caught up in her thoughts letting her conscience get to her....   [tags: Macbeth, Guilt, Conscience, Mind]

Research Papers
1228 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Macbeth, By William Shakespeare

- Good Triumphs all Evil There is a light in every darkness. People choose to acknowledge the faults, heartbreaks, and wrong-doings of the world but not let it discourage them. Instead, there is the choice to believe that there is at least a little good in every dark soul which is the case in William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. The tragic hero Macbeth makes many mistakes and entangles himself into a web of deceit, misconduct and darkness lead by manipulation and ambition. The self-created antagonistic character, Macbeth, shines elements of his integrity through his nobility, trusting nature, and moral conscience throughout the chaos....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, King Duncan]

Research Papers
1011 words (2.9 pages)

Exploring the Actions of Macbeth that Backfired in Shakespeare's Macbeth

- The dream of becoming king has ironically changed from a bright future to a tragic end due to some of the crucial decisions Macbeth has made during the course of his journey and a number of his actions will backfire on him. The first of his actions that backfired was when he murdered King Duncan which he regrets afterwards. Another action that backfired was the murder of the guards which could've drastically changed the outcome of this entire story since he could've gotten away with King Duncan's murder if he didn't commit it....   [tags: Macbeth Essays]

Research Papers
715 words (2 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Throughout the play, Macbeth has a lot of trouble trusting his own instincts, and instead, trusts others, and allows them to influence his decisions. The most substantial impact is made by the three witches. At the beginning of the play, the reader is told that these witches’ posses many great powers, including the ability to predict the future. It is also revealed that the three weird sisters would meet with Macbeth on the heath after the hurly-burly, or civil war, had ended. Before they vanish, they declare that “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” (Shakespeare, 11) This quotation foreshadowed the effect that the witches would have on Macbeth’s life, and offer insight into why Macbeth goes do...   [tags: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth]

Research Papers
2094 words (6 pages)

Essay Macbeth, By William Shakespeare

- Throughout the play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Macbeth continuously decides bad choices and the consequences of these decisions catch up to Macbeth and result in his mental deterioration, however with Macbeth’s almost infant feel for ambition this makes him susceptible to manipulation, which then grows into an insatiable appetite for power. The acts of this with the manipulation from outsiders, causes his blind ambition, his false sense of security and then finally his guilt, which all contribute to his derangement....   [tags: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth, Banquo]

Research Papers
1580 words (4.5 pages)

Related Searches

Here, she is asking the darkness to enshroud her so she can not see the damage that her knife makes as she kills Duncan. She wants no one or nothing to stop her from committing this evil deed, and she wants the darkness to cover and hide her while she commits her heinous crime.

Finally, towards the end of the play, Lady Macbeth’s conscience is starting to get the best of her and she begins to fear the darkness and nighttime. One night, when she has gone to sleep, the nurse and doctor are observing her. She begins to come down the hall and the doctor says “How came she by that light?”(Act V, scene i, l.22). Then, the nurse says, “Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually. ‘Tis her command” (Act V, scene i, ll. 23-24). This shows that she fears the darkness because she must keep a night lamp by her in order to sleep and feel safe. All of the guilt from Duncan and Banquo’s murders has caused her to not be able to sleep well and to dread the nighttime. She has become submissive and timid towards her husband, where before, she was overbearing and domineering. Her attitude completely changes throughout the play and
causes her to eventually commit suicide during the battle between Macbeth and Macduff.

Throughout Macbeth, there are many examples of how guilt and conscience tie in
with night and darkness. A person’s guilt causes them to act differently and become a
totally different person, as we saw with Lady Macbeth. Night and darkness is a central
theme in the play, as it allows Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to murder Duncan, and then
allows Macbeth’s men to murder Banquo. It is used as a cover-up for all the evil things
that they have done and to hide them from everyone and themselves. Guilt and conscience are present throughout the play and cause the main characters’ downfalls and their eventual deaths. What is guilt? Guilt is an evil monster that tears away at one’s soul until he can no longer bear it any longer. Guilt leads to death and destruction and is present throughout Macbeth.
Return to