Essay On Guilt In Macbeth

Great Essays
Guilt: Evidence of Humanity
Guilt. Arguably one of the most “human” attributes, the superego is intended to guide and advise. It remains calm and at peace when good deeds are committed, yet becomes angry and agitated the second one does something considered “wrong”. At times, the evils within humans began to surface, attempting to dominate over the good and innocence one is born with. This is when the superego comes in, able to remind one of what is right and what is wrong; thus, guilt serves as an indicator of the presence of humanity. As long as someone regrets the actions they have committed, within them there must still be good. William Golding and William Shakespeare, in their respective works, take different stances on the debate as to
…show more content…
While Jack shows little to no remorse for his destructive actions, Macbeth is overwhelmed by guilt, due to the influence of his superego. Jack, with the savage within him continuing to grow, kills Piggy. Afterwards, he shows no regret, going as far to say, “See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant [to do] that!... I’m chief!” (181). Having just killed one of the boys on the island, Jack shows a disturbing amount of satisfaction. In fact, he relishes the fact that Piggy has died by using it to threaten the others on the island and assert his dominance. The savagery and evil inside of him prevents Jack from feeling any guilt; his innocence has officially been completely lost. On the other hand, Macbeth, after having killed King Duncan, experiences intense guilt, intensified by the realization that his actions have not gone as planned. While speaking to himself, Macbeth expresses regret, musing, “For [Banquo’s sons] the gracious Duncan have I murdered; put rancors in the vessel of my peace” (3.1.69-70). Macbeth, guilt-ridden over killing Duncan, who he describes as a “gracious” king, is experiencing the effects of one’s superego. Despite having allowed his inner evils to takeover, leading to the murder of Duncan, Macbeth still shows the humanity within him when he remembers how kind Duncan was, and expresses regret over having killed such a good man. Although Macbeth’s evils strengthen and fester from the greed he has, ultimately, they were not able to completely destroy his super ego. Therefore, while Golding presents Jack’s lack of conscience as proof that humans are savage inside and inevitably will lose their innocence, Shakespeare argues with his example of Macbeth, that despite the inner evils that can consume humans, in the end they never lose their superego, allowing them to hold their grasp on their

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    This waste of life represents the completed transformation of Macbeth. Where as before he would need to at least have justifications to kill Macduff’s family, he now kills for entertainment as he knows that Macduff will suffer greatly for this…

    • 1252 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Compassion In Macbeth

    • 878 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In an effort to make himself feel better, and justified in his murderous act, Macbeth rationalizes that Duncan is better off dead than going through the pain of living. "Duncan is in his grave. After life's fitful fervor he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing can touch him further" (3.2.2529). Macbeth's reasoning shows that he isn't completely devoid of compassion because he understands how he's betrayed Banquo and Duncan by breaking his loyalty to them, and he displays denial by rationalizing his behavior.…

    • 878 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    While the creature is overlooking Victor's progress with making the companion, his creator destroys the companion igniting powerful emotions from the creature that he cannot control. “The wretch saw [Victor] destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew... [Victor] saw [the creature] in his boat... [Victor is] to give an account of the death of a gentleman who was found murdered” (Shelley 171-179). Before Victor destroyed the companion, all of the creatures attention was on the possibility of having someone just like the creature at his side. The creature is so full of hope and love for the companion already. Because of Victors actions, the creature is not able to control his rage.…

    • 852 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 1 Works Cited
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Theme Of Innocence In Lord Of The Flies

    • 1141 Words
    • 5 Pages
    • 3 Works Cited

    It illustrates the increasing loss of innocence by manifesting only after an act of true evil was committed- the “raping” of the sow. When Simon first discovers it, it “speaks” to him by way of a hallucination caused by his epilepsy, and introduces itself as the "Beastie" (Elliott, Joyce, Shorvon, “Delusions”). This is ironic as the Lord of the Flies is composed of a truly innocent creature- the murdered sow. That the boys are determined to kill it suggests that they are intent on destroying innocence as opposed to evil, which is what they believe they are hunting. Simon still retains his innocence due to his isolated behavior and epilepsy.…

    • 1141 Words
    • 5 Pages
    • 3 Works Cited
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Guilt Theme In Macbeth

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Macbeth’s guilt manifests horrifically, and he sporadically kills his friends, his enemies, and innocent people alike. After he kills his best friend, Banquo, his conscience makes one last attempt to speak to him through the bloody ghost of his latest victim. He relates his situation to a pool of blood, recognizing that, “I am in blood/Stepped in so far that,/should I wade no more,/ Returning were as tedious as go o’er” (3.4.168-170). The blood imagery represents Macbeth embracing his guilt, instead of letting it consume him like it does Lady Macbeth. He recognizes his sin, yet persists nevertheless.…

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Abuse Of Power In Macbeth

    • 1014 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Macbeth’s uncertainty first began with his hope to not let his “black and deep desires” (Shakespeare 1.4.58) consume his mind after his prophecy foreshadowed Duncan’s murder. This initial feeling translated to his later guilt when talking to Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth, being paranoid, comments, “wake Duncan with thy knocking” (2.3.94), to emphasize his regret in putting Duncan to rest. His guilt beginning to fill his mind with “scorpions” (3.2.41), his mental and emotional instability leads him to killing Banquo in order to retain his kingship. The remorse of Banquo’s death is evident in Macbeth’s banquet, when he believes Banquo “shake[s] thy gory locks at me” (3.4.61-62). The thought of Banquo’s anger beyond his death terrifies Macbeth, “Avaunt, and quit my sight!…

    • 1014 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Another example of this would be when Macbeth kills King Duncan despite the fact that Duncan trusted him and was a cousin of his. Macbeth makes an irrational decision and disregards their relationship as he is solely focused on attaining the crown. Macbeth was so intent on maintaining his power that he began to demonstrate no concern for his loved ones or the people around him. Macbeth’s passion caused him to lose his sanity and not only did he harm himself in the end, he also harmed the people around him. Through this, Shakespeare demonstrates that when one…

    • 1098 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He also shows mild anger and sadness towards his mother in the beginning and in Act III, Hamlet becomes violent and shouts at his mother, he then kills Polonius in his rage for spying on him. After Hamlet stabs Polonius, thinking he was the king he replies,” I thought you were somebody more important. You’ve gotten what you deserve.” (III.iv.33). He shows no remorse for killing the wrong man and is actually glad he did it, his extreme actions are another telling symptom of his mental…

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In general, people make mistakes that usually lead to even worse actions in the future. In the tragic play, Macbeth, William Shakespeare suggests that just one criminal act leads to other unintended actions. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth unwillingly kills Duncan with a vast amount of internal conflict and experiences much guilt before and after the murder. Later, Macbeth’s panicking leads to him murdering Duncan’s guards and his desire for safety results in the death Banquo. Finally, Macbeth has no real motives to murder Macduff’s family other than the unquenchable thirst for revenge, leading to Macbeth wishing to no longer be living.…

    • 2071 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Accursed be that tongue that tells me so, for hath cow’d my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed” (5.8.19-23), shows Macbeth’s recognition of his mistake. His mistake is relying too strongly on the prophecies told by the witches. Once he recognizes this, he knows his death is certain. In addition, Macbeth also displays the characteristic of anagnorisis when Macbeth is in recognition of Banquo’s murder and is in the state of feeling very guilty.…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays