Macbeth has a secret desire to become the king. His ambition makes him dishonest and the thought of murdering Duncan occurs instantly in his mind. That thought revives in Macbeth’s mind the moment Duncan announces the nomination of Prince Malcolm as the heir to the throne after according a royal reception to the victorious Macbeth. When Macbeth returns to his castle, his wife refers to the necessity of assassination of Duncan for Macbeth’s attaining kingship. But Macbeth is still noncommittal. Soon follows a conflict in his mind between his ambition and his conscience. In addition to considering the tragic consequences that always beset the evil-doer, he realizes the heinousness of murdering Duncan who is at once his guest, kinsman, and king. His conscience now comes out successful and he, in unequivocal words, tells his wife, not to proceed further in this business. However, the initial victory of conscience in Macbeth’s mind is only too short-lived. Accusing him of cowardice, Lady Macbeth asks him to “screw” his courage “to the sticking place” and then proceeds to underline the apparently fool-proof plan of murder. Her forceful arguments revive his ambition to such an extent that he is now forced to ignore conscience. With the decision to assassinate Duncan, Macbeth’s tragedy has begun to take shape. But his conscience has not yet given up and it continues to fight ambition, thus helping to make his self-damnation more intense. Even moments before the murder, his conscience appears in full force through his imagination and tries to dampen his ambition. However, Macbeth’s ambition is by now too strong for his... [continues]
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