Macbeth Critical/ Analytical Essay
Guilt is a very strong, uncomfortable feeling that is often a result of one’s own actions. In the play, Macbeth, the author William Shakespeare uses character development to demonstrate how guilt can be self-destructive and ultimately lead to a negative impact on an individual’s mental stability. Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macduff all suffer from a guilty conscience which affects them in different ways but ultimately causes them to behave irrationally. A person’s guilt and disgrace has the power to drive them to insanity and sometimes self-destruction. Macbeth starts out as a brave, heroic individual who is widely respected throughout his country. However, behind the valiant image is a secret that is slowly eating away at him. Macbeth is a murderer. The guilt and shame commence when Macbeth allows himself to be manipulated to commit such a beastly act. When he first experiences his guilty conscience, he mistakes the feeling as fear. This is first evident just before he murders King Duncan and Macbeth has a vision of an imaginary dagger. “Is this a dagger which I see before me,/ the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.” (2.1.33-34). He realizes that the dagger is just an image in his mind, but decides that it is a result of his fear and continues with the task. This is the first point where Macbeth shows a sign of a mental breakdown, although he is still able to think somewhat rationally. This ultimately evolves into a hardened Macbeth and causes him to continue with his horrific actions until he is out of control. The murder of King Duncan is followed by the murders of many others, including his closest friend Banquo. The build-up of guilt begins the affect Macbeth’s mental state more and more until he can no longer think straight. He begins to hallucinate and on occasion has visions of the ghost of Banquo. The ghost first appears at the banquet, where Macbeth sees the bloody image of Banquo sitting at...
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