The Role Of Guilt In Macbeth By William Shakespeare

1177 Words 5 Pages
The human psyche is a careful balance between thoughts, feelings, and emotions; lean too far one way and we devolve into a stagnant race, lean too far the other and we become bloodthirsty murderers.This balance is a key to life, it is what drives our society and keeps us together as a community. Many emotions play into this balance, such as ambition, guilt, and fear, anda though one needs these emotions to give them motivation and boundaries, it often leads to rigourous competition and a fall-out between the competitors. This spectrum of emotion is a careful balance seen in every aspect of our lives, but deciding where the ever elusive line between too much and too little lies is the key. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare prods at this line, …show more content…
In Shakespeare, he plays with this emotion, showing how different people react to the same situation with their guilt. Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s wife, is often used to contrast with Macbeth’s way of thinking. In the beginning it is she that pushes Macbeth to kill, but at the end she dies of “self and violent hands” because of this guilt that she begins to feel (5.8.70). However, where Lady Macbeth feels this enormous guilt after the fact, Macbeth feels it before. He knows that society will view killing King Duncan as wrong, but he still does it, and although he continues to feel guilty for a short while after the fact, he kills again until he no longer does. Macbeth allows his selfishness to take over this action, deciding he “[is] in blood/ Stepp'd in so far that. . .returning were as tedious as go o'er” (3.4.136-138). Macbeth had gone so far away from his morals that going back would be as hard as going forward, however the option to turn back was there, but Macbeth continued to kill, only worsening his position. Shakespeare shows us that although Macbeth may seem guilty, he is not guilty enough to stop himself. Through this, he reveals Macbeth’s true nature: a murderer. Though in the beginning Macbeth was a hero of the people, he is no different now then he was then. The only difference is the selfish hand that guides his to kill. Macbeth feed into his selfish thought, allowing it to control his life and leading to his eventual death. Although he knew that he could stop any time, his own pride pushed him

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