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Macbeth: Guilt

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Camille Huo

on 13 January 2016

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Transcript of Macbeth: Guilt

Quote #2 (Matthew)
"Out, damned spot! Out, I say" (5.1.31).
Quote #3 (Nathan)
“Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!” (5.1.44-45).

Lady Macbeth,
and appears to
rub her hands together
, apparently washing the
from her hands.

She then exclaims that no perfume will ever wash the smell of blood off her hands.

This scene parallels
Lady Macbeth’s and Macbeth’s situation
after the killing of
King Duncan
, where she tells Macbeth that a little water will wash off the blood.

Even though the blood (representing
) is long washed from her hands, the "
" of the blood will stay with her forever, and will never be
washed off
Quote #1 (Matthew)
Quote #6 (Camille)
Quote #7 (Alex)
“How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this is my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red” (2.2.70-75).
Quote #9 (Winnie)
Horrible sight! Now I see ‘tis true;
For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his. What, is this so? (4.1.133-135)
Theme: Guilt
THESIS: The guilt resulting from one’s murderous actions is prevalent throughout the plot of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, informing readers that guilt subsequently has detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental stability.
Macbeth: Guilt
By: Alex, Winnie, Matthew, Nathan, Camille
Quote #4 (Nathan)
Quote #5 (Camille)
Quote #10 (Winnie)
Quote #8 (Alex)
Class Activity: Jeopardy!
Get into your Macbeth groups, it's time to play Jeopardy. There will be a prize for the winning team!
“To know my deed, ‘Twere best not know myself. (Knock.) Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!” (2.2.89-91).
“It would be best not to know myself now that I know what I have done. (Knock.) Wake Duncan with your knocking! I wish you could.”
-Macbeth shows the immediate guilt he feels after murdering King Duncan by showing his anxiety that someone will discover his deeds, this affects his mental stability.

-When they hear the knocking at
the door, they become frightened
and nervous

-Macbeth expresses his desire to undo his actions by wishing that the loud knocking at the door could wake Duncan

Application to Frankenstein
-Macbeth feels frighened about any noise.
-Even sea cannot wash away his guilt.(hyperbole)
-Macbeth will be cruel.(Foreshadowing)

"One cried, 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the other,
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
List'ning their fear I could not say 'Amen,' When they did say 'God bless us!' I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen' Stuck in my throat. Methought I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more: Macbeth does murder sleep'"
(2.2.29-32, 35-36, 38-39).
“[A cry within of women]; [...] It is the cry of women, my good lord. (5.5.7-10)”

A cry is heard from within Macbeth’s castle: that of a woman. Lady Macbeth is later discovered dead, presumed from suicide.

Every night, tormenting thoughts of guilt keep Lady Macbeth from sleeping, affecting her physically. This proves too much for the once brave Lady, and she decides to end her own life.
Discussion Question:
In Frankenstein and Macbeth, characters have different ways of dealing with their guilt. Can guilt ever be overcome? How?
Let's take a look:
Lady Macbeth
Victor Frankenstein
"One servant cried 'God bless us!' while the other replied 'Amen,' as if they had seen me with these bloody hands. Listening to their frightened voices, I could not reply 'Amen.' I was desperate for God's blessing, but the word 'Amen' was stuck in my throat. I thought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more: Macbeth is murdering sleep.'"
“The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?
What, will these hands never be clean? No more of that, my lord, no more about that. You mar all with this starting” (5.1.36-38).
Come out, damned spot! Out, I command you!
-Macbeth killed Lady Macduff

-Lady Macbeth makes Macbeth cruel

-Lady Macbeth begs Macbeth to stop

-Lady Macbeth knows she ruins everything
“Unnatural deeds Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets” (5.1.73-75).
“Actions that go against the Great Chain of Being cause strange troubles. Those with guilty minds will confess their secrets to their pillows as they sleep.”
Speaker: Macbeth | Speaking to: Himself
Speaker: Doctor | Speaking to: Gentlewoman
During the Elizabethan Era,
murdering the king
was considered to be a sin. Macbeth's inability to say "Amen" illustrates his
lack of protection from God
. His "murder of sleep" depicts his
, signifying the relentless pain along with his
. King Duncan's murder not only torments Macbeth
, but
as well.
Lady Macbeth's
reminders of her crimes eventually leads her to express her innermost
. During her hallucinations, she finally admitted that the blood on her hands can
never be cleaned
. Her guilt from her crime has since plagued her
to the point of
Speaker: Macbeth
Speaking to: Lady Macbeth
Speaker: Lady Macbeth
Speaking to: Herself
Connection to Frankenstein
-Actions that go against the Great Chain of Being cause strange troubles.

-The doctor observes Lady Macbeth’s disturbing sleepwalking and confessions of murder.

-“Infected minds” refers to the minds that are consumed by guilt - Lady Macbeth’s mind is so infected that she sleepwalks.
Application Question
Not so sick, my lord,
As she is trouble with thick-coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest. (5.3.43-45)

Macbeth is horrified
Reminds him of his guilt
His ability of making rational decisions is affected by the horror of the prophecies

The doctor tells Macbeth that Lady Macbeth's sickness is not the result of physical illness.
Her sleepwalking is caused by something else on her mind.== Guilt
The sense of guilt has not only influenced her mentality, but also her physical state.
way to redeem oneself from the guilt
seek forgiveness from god
pressure (questioned by the conscience) is released


Justine's Confession
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth never tell others (directly).
= keep worrying that someone else is going to find out the truth
= Macbeth cannot enjoy the power he has gained.
“I did confess; but I confessed a lie. I confessed, that I might obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier at my heart than all my other sins. The God of heaven forgive me"(Shelley 69).
Justine confessed to the court to get forgiven by all the other sins that she has committed in her life. However, she is not responsible for William’s murder. She lies to make the confession, which does not make her feel forgiven as she expected. Furthermore, she feels worse about herself.
Discussion Question
Which murder is most significant in triggering Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's guilt?
Sample Answer
The murder that was the most significant in triggering Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt is the murder of King Duncan. Such is evident after Macbeth expressed his fears following his murder, as he was much too worried that he would get caught within these murderous acts while attempting to fulfill the prophecies of the witches. Lady Macbeth then attempts to comfort Macbeth, albeit unsuccessful. Although she appears to be unfazed, King Duncan’s murders ultimately sparks the beginnings of her guilty conscience as well as the hauntings from those who were murdered by her husband. In turn, it takes a toll on her, unfortunately to the point of suicide.
- Doesn't deal very well
- Guilt eventually leads him to spill out the truth (banquet)
- Becomes extremely paranoid, killing everyone he's afraid of (Banquo, Macduff's family)
- Hides the guilt, leading to deep remorse
- Loses sleep, sleepwalks every night trying to wash the smell of blood off her hands
- Ends up commiting suicide.
Works Cited
- Falls ill every time something bad happens (Creature running loose, Clerval's death)
- Seeks revenge against his monster until he dies
Victor Frankenstein
Lady Macbeth
"Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny; but you, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor"(Shelley 167)
Related to Frankenstein
How is Frankenstein's creature similar to Lady Macbeth?
"After Committing a Crime, Guilt and Shame Predict Re-Offense." APS. Association For Psychological
Science, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/after-committing-a-crime- guilt-and-shame-predict-re-offense.html>.

"Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation." Catechism of the
Catholic Church - The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm>.

Shakespeare, William, and Roma Gill. Macbeth. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. New York: Bantam, 1991. Print.
-Feel extremely sad
-Cannot stop blaming himself
-Get ill
After analyzing the characters of both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, who do you think suffers more from guilt? Why do you think so?
Application Question
My Answer
- At first, they are both cruel and blood-thirsty, the creature seeking revenge by killing William, and Lady Macbeth planning the death of King Duncan

-They eventually become overwhelmed by the guilt of being responsible for so many deaths

- Both develop depression and anxiety near the end

- Both eventually commit suicide
In all three cases, guilt is never overcome.
Although the three characters have very different approaches to dealing with their guilt, eventually, they all take their guilt to their grave.
- Both antagonists of
suffer from guilt

- Macbeth and Victor both cause the murders of many people

- Both are too amitious in their plans - Victor to create life, and Macbeth to become King of Scotland

- However, once the deed is done, they immediately regret their decisions

- As the story goes on, Macbeth and Victor accumulate more and more guilt leading to ental instability because “for the guilty there is no peace. The agonies of the remorse poison the luxury there is otherwise sometimes found in indulging the excess of grief” (Shelley 180).

- Both antagonists eventually snap under the overwhelming power of guilt and die miserable deaths
As shown in William Shakespeare's
, Macbeth's guilt following his murder of King Duncan consequently leads to his insomnia, paranoia, and ultimately the murder of Banquo, illustrating guilt's significant deterioration of one's physical and mental state.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth gradually develops a guilt-plagued conscience, finally resulting in her dramatic outburst of her fears. Guilt has affected her so much so that she is led to the point of insanity and suicide. Therefore guilt not only has significant influence within one's health, but their resulting actions as well.

In summary, guilt can have detrimental effects and influence not just through one's mental and physical state, but through their consequential actions as well, especially among those committing murderous actions.
Lady Macbeth suffers more!
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