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MacBeth & Guilt

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Jake Hensley

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of MacBeth & Guilt

The Theme of Guilt
in Macbeth Act One "Methought I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more!/ Macbeth does murder sleep,' - the innocent sleep,/ Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,/ The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,/ Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,/ Chief nourisher in life's feast." (2.2.42-48) Act Two Act Three Act Five Think!
Share! Activity "How is it with me, when every noise appalls me?/ What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes!/ Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?" (2.2.70-73) The immediate guilt that struck Macbeth was inevitable. He was scared and unsure of what to do anymore. He felt insecure. He could not bear to kill anyone else because he had just killed someone who could trust him. Macbeth was becoming even more scared. His mind was getting more and more fragile. He was unfit to become king. This instability heightens as his character develops. The guilt clouds his decisions on everything. Application question: How does Shakespeare use guilt to develop his characters? How is this different/similar between Macbeth & Lady Macbeth? Discussion question: Do you think it’s harder to forgive others or forgive yourself? Why? Act Four Background: Lady Macbeth becomes mentally unstable and confesses to the murders of Duncan, Macduff's family, and Banquo while sleepwalking
Macolm and Macduff start advancing from England to Scotland. They stop at Birnam Wood and cut off branches to hide as they advance to Dunsinane, which is fufills the witches' prophecy of Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane.
Macbeth gets worried, however he still thinks that it is impossible for him to be defeated because the witches' had a second prophecy of how "no man born of a woman" can defeat him
Lady Macbeth kills herself as a result of feeling guilty
Macduff dethrones Macbeth and is able to because he was born from a C-section and was "untimely ripped from his mother's womb".
Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland Guilt - Lady Macbeth Here's the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. (5.1.43-44) Lady Macbeth is responsible for the deaths of Duncan and partially Macduff's family. She feels guilty and as a result, she is imagining things, has warped judgement, and is showing signs of a mental illness. A cry within of women
Macbeth: What is that noise?
Seyton: It is the cry of women, my good lord.
Macbeth: Wherefore was that cry
Seyton: The Queen, my lord, is dead. (5.5.8-9,17-18) Lady Macbeth is so upset with herself that she took her own life and sees no way out, which shows emotional instability. Questions Background Macbeth killed Duncan but is feeling guilty
Lady Macbeth reassures him and frames the murder on the guards
The next day, Macduff finds Duncan dead
Malcolm and Donalbain flee for safety
Macbeth pretends to still be loyal to the king and kills the guards who "murdered" Duncan Guilt Macbeth killed Duncan and that was seen as a crime. Do you think it was reasonable for Macduff to kill Macbeth? How do you think the way people dealt with guilt and crimes in Shakespeare's time differs from the way that people deal with them now? How were the feelings of Lady Macbeth similar to the feelings of Victor in Frankenstein? Why do you think Lady Macbeth was guilty at the end of the play, but Macbeth was not? In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Shakespeare displays how the repercussions of guilt can be detrimental towards the individual because it creates emotional instability and distorted judgment. Discussion Question In Macbeth’s situation, his guilt manifests due to his emotional instability but do you believe that guilt has the power to cause “hallucinations” or severe mental handicaps just as it caused Macbeth? BACKGROUND
Banquo suspects that Macbeth became King through unethical means

Macbeth remembers that the Weird Sisters for told of Banquo's lineage of kings

As a result, he sends murderers to kill Banquo as well as Fleance

After Banquo's death, he holds a feast for his crowning and sees Banquo's ghost Guilt Quotes “Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,/Were the graced person of our Banquo present,/Who may I rather challenge for unkindness/ Than pity for mischance” (Shakespeare 3.4. 48-51).


“I am in blood/ Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go over”
(Shakespeare 3.4. 162.164).

DISTORTED JUDGEMENT Manifestation of Guilt Realizes Sins - Remorse Thank You For
Listening! Background Quotes “Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires” (1.4.58-60). Macbeth knows that the thoughts in his mind about killing Duncan are bad
He feels guilt for thinking this way and does not want to act upon it
This guilt leads to him being on edge during Act 2 “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed. Then, as his host, who should not bear the knife myself” (1.7.12-14). Macbeth knows that Duncan trusts him, he feels that he should not be the one murdering Duncan.
Feels guilty but still ends up murdering Duncan because of the pressure his wife puts on him.
Since the guilt from this makes Macbeth feel as if he was already a bad person, he kills Banquo with no second thought
Guilt can lead to disrupted judgement. Questions Do you think guilt is a good thing or bad thing? Why or why not? Do you think Macbeth and Lady Macbeth switched roles later on, personality wise? What are the causes? Background Witches give Macbeth prophecies
Macbeth decides to kill everybody at Macduff's castle
Macduff and Malcolm are in England
They talk about dethroning Macbeth Question How do you think guilt affected Macbeth's decision to kill Macduff's family? Quotes That I may not tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder. (4.1.93-94) Although Macbeth is worried about being dethroned and about others finding out about his murders, he hopes that he will sleep soundly event though there are things that will disrupt him. Do you think guilt is something that is able to be controlled? What were some ways that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth tried to use to manage their guilt? Thou are too like the spirit of Banquo. Down! (4.1.123) Macbeth is shaken by the apparition of Banquo because he is still guilty about the murdering Banquo. He shows emotional damage and poor judgement because he immediately decides to raid Macduff's castle after this. Connection: Macbeth could not enjoy his rise of power because he had a guilty conscience that told him that what he did was wrong.
This is also true in real life because
good grades gained by cheating
money gained by stealing etc.
will have repercussions of guilt.
What other examples are there of how guilt is present in every day life? King Duncan rewards Macbeth with the title of the Thane of Cawdor.
Macbeth and Duncan meet the witches and are told their fate.
Lady Macbeth finds out about the witches prophecies and plans for Macbeth to murder Duncan while Duncan stays over. Questions
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