Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
What Transforms Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Into Tragic Figures Is The Fact That They Both Have Consciences.
At the end of Macbeth, Malcolm refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as, ?a dead butcher and a fiend like queen.? Malcolm bases this judgement on the tyrannical rule and bloody murders that were a result of the Macbeths. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a brave general who is full of honour as shown in the quote ?What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.? Macbeth?s close friend Banquo is quick to realise this but his silence on the topic later results in his downfall,
After becoming the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth becomes even greedier and thinks of an evil plan. He gives hints of this in a letter to Lady Macbeth, who, immediately changes character after reading the letter. Lady Macbeth seems to take control as she orders the hesitant Macbeth to commit the deed. However, on closer inspection, Lady Macbeth also shows conscience, but reluctantly. My father as he slept, I had done?t ?
Lady Macbeth tries to hide her conscience again as the disturbed and remorseful Macbeth says,
The most powerful of Macbeth?s remorseful phrases is at the end of Act 2 scene 2, where he says,
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
The apparently remorsless Lady Macbeth replies, saying:
A little water clears us of this deed;
In the following scene, the main characters find out about the murder of Duncan. Here, Macbeth yet again shows remorse, saying,
I had lived a blessed time; ?
The murder of Duncan was the first test of conscience for the two characters. Both show conscience; Duncan reminded Lady Macbeth of her father and Macbeth showed regret immediately after the deed had been done.
This murder, however, gives Macbeth the experience he needs to commit further murders, with the next being Banquo?s. Macbeth feels that Banquo may reveal his secret and so must dispose of him. Macbeth also wants to murder Fleance, as he wants his own descendants to rule Scotland. This is shown in the phrase:
Conscience haunts him again as he sees Banquo?s ghost. Earlier on in the play Lady Macbeth said,
A heavily ironic phrase that comes back to haunt the characters.
Macbeth is the first to feel Lady Macbeth?s comment, as his madness is the result of guilt. This makes him become even more cold-hearted, resulting in the murder of Lady Macduff and her family.
By now Scotland is a dark and unprosperous kingdom, and Lady Macbeth is plagued with mental illnesses. Macbeth shows no remorse for his wife, as he?s too concerned with his lack of allies, friends and hope ? all of which is summed up in his soliloquy, where he says,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare
Both characters had consciences but their consciences were corrupted by the desire for power. Lady Macbeth tried to destroy her conscience and Macbeth followed in his wife?s footsteps. Both characters? consciences returned to them too late, when they could not repair the damage that they had made.