Why Is Guilt Important In Macbeth

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A major theme throughout the play, Macbeth by Shakespeare, was that guilt is overwhelming and it plays a major role in our lives. Hallucinations and visions were motifs that were highly imperative to the development of this theme. To start off with, the first major hallucination in the play was Macbeth’s ‘fatal vision’ of a bloody dagger that led him to Duncan. (II, i) Macbeth envisioned a floating dagger before him and eventually began to see stains of blood on the dagger. This dagger led him to Duncan’s room where he murdered Duncan. Macbeth’s inner conflict and guilt had caused him to hallucinate. The bloody dagger was a symbol and result of Macbeth’s guilt. Thus, his overwhelming guilt can be blamed for his actions to a certain extent. Macbeth hadn’t been sure about killing Duncan from the start. He admitted that his only reason to kill Duncan was ‘ambition’ and he didn’t see that reason as an adequate justification for murder but he was driven by his and Lady Macbeth’s lust for power. (I, vii) He even debated whether he should kill Duncan or not through an entire soliloquy. It’s evident that his heart wasn’t in killing Duncan. Not only did…show more content…
Banquo’s ghost was also an illustration of Macbeth’s guilt. Macbeth felt guilty about murdering Banquo and this was evident in his reaction. He was absolutely appalled at the sight of Banquo’s ghost. At first, Macbeth asks which one of them did this, not knowing what to say. Macbeth even shouts at the ghost that ‘thou canst no say I did it’ referring to the murder that he had committed. (III, iv) He became so consumed in his guilt and overwhelmed by Banquo’s ghost that he completely disregards the fact that he was surrounded by many guests. Macbeth’s irrational behavior is a result being overwhelmed by guilt. Guilt has that effect on people. It has the potential to not only overwhelm us but to dictate our

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