Theme Of Equivocation In Macbeth

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Why do humans consciously lie or choose to tell half of the truth? What consequences accompany these dishonest actions? These questionable behaviors are present in our daily lives and they impact society on a multitude of levels. In an effort to pose answers to these timeless questions, William Shakespeare introduces morally flexible characters in Macbeth that take his thinking to an extreme. Through exaggeration, Shakespeare is able to distinctly communicate and express his ideas about society’s behavior. To convey these thoughts, Shakespeare incorporates the recurring motif of equivocation into the tragedy and ties it into his theme of morality. Shakespeare repeatedly utilizes equivocation throughout Macbeth, suggesting that humans bring …show more content…
Macbeth, a morally compromised person, lives without remorse for his actions because of his rapid ascension to the throne. Macbeth’s behavior consists of immoral actions, such as lying, like the moment after he murders King Duncan and his chamberlains, “O, yet I do repent me of my fury, /That I did kill [the chamberlains]” (69). Strategically, Macbeth tells this half-truth in an effort to gain the immediate sympathy of his audience. He admits to a mere portion of his wrongdoings and benefits greatly by not facing the repercussions of his actions. Although many may not consider the witches in Macbeth to be human, Shakespeare grants them mortal qualities, ensuring that his arguments surrounding morality are applicable to them. They, too, tell many lies to manipulate Macbeth’s heart and soul for their own entertainment. Through the apparitions, the witches concoct the play’s most significant lies to Macbeth. First, the Second Apparition utters, “The power of man, for none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth” (125). The way this lie is set forth suggests that no human can harm Macbeth because everyone is “of woman born.” Yet Macduff, loather of Macbeth, successfully murders him with the help of Malcolm. Macbeth is killed …show more content…
For example, Macbeth originally seeks the remedy to his wife’s sleepwalking when he says to the doctor, “Cure her of that. /Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, /Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, /Raze out the written troubles of the brain… Which weighs upon the heart?” (171). With this, Macbeth intends to gain wisdom about the mind and its complexities by initiating a conversation about his wife with the doctor. Shakespeare uses these lines as a double-edged sword that cuts through Macbeth’s false illusion of strength. Macbeth unintentionally reveals a considerable amount about himself with these lines, including the fact that he is deeply troubled. His burdensome memories and the outcome of his lies enable personal details to seep through his otherwise straightforward question. Macbeth wants his memories to vanish when he asks, “Raze out the written troubles of [my] brain.” Macbeth’s only regret is his memory of his deeds and not the deeds themselves. Unfortunately for Macbeth, he subjects the doctor to his abstruse thinking and questioning, accidentally disclosing the gravity of his tormented state. Shakespeare is convinced that it is easy to get caught up in a lie, and that its result can only be unpleasant. Macbeth’s entire reign as king is a lie. It starts with the rise to power through his murder of King Duncan, an unsolved murder shrouded in

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