Human beings are unique in the world because humans have the power to tell between right and wrong. Some believe that this is simply a special instinct while others believe that it is divine creator that gave to man what is known as conscience. In the tragedy Macbeth, William Shakespeare develops the idea that when an individual makes a choice that is against his conscience, he and the larger community will suffer the consequences of his choice. Shakespeare uses three main characters: Lady Macbeth, Macduff and Macbeth to illustrate the importance of following the human conscience.
Lady Macbeth is a great example of how ignoring one’s conscience can lead to self-destruction. Upon receiving Macbeth’s letter about meeting the witches, Lady Macbeth becomes convinced that Macbeth “shalt be what thou art promised (becoming king)” She also understands that Macbeth’s heart is too “full of o’th’ milk of human kindness” and therefore be unable the commit the murder of Duncan necessary for Macbeth to become king. Although Shakespeare gives the impression that Lady Macbeth is amoral person from her being so hungry for power, she is not. As she prepares the murder of Duncan, she asks the spirits to “unsex me her” which shows that she does indeed understand the sin in her actions. This proves that Lady Macbeth is in fact immoral as oppose to amoral. Soon after the murder, Lady Macbeth’s state of mind falls from confidence to unhappiness to finally despair. When Macbeth first questions the flaws of their plan to murder Duncan, she responds with confidence that “we will not fail”. Shortly after the murder however, once Macbeth is crowned, Lady Macbeth becomes aware of her unhappiness. She expresses her discontentment with the lines “ Naught’s had, all’s spend, where our desire is got without content.” This shows that although she is now queen of Scotland, she is unable to enjoy her new title. Finally, when her discontentment turn into despair to the point...
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