Why Is Guilt Important In Macbeth

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When people know they have done something wrong, they are often plagued by guilt. Whether this guilt manifests physically or psychologically matters not. In one of his most famous tragedies, Macbeth, William Shakespeare establishes that guilt haunts the guilty through the monstrous characters and the many images of death used throughout the play. Monstrous characters have a major role in Macbeth. The three witches are the first characters that enter the stage, and recur throughout. Witches are often considered to be “satanic” or evil in nature, and thus would have been, in Shakespeare’s time, considered monsters. When Macbeth questions the three about what is going to transpire in the future, he is being haunted by what he has done - killed his king, his fellow thane, and two other innocent people. Yet he still sets out to know what he has to do to stay king. Even when the witches summon apparitions,…show more content…
From ghosts to murderers, animal parts to suicide, they are everywhere. Images of death haunt those who are guilty by constantly being there. Where ever they look, there is something dead or death related. In the very first scene Macbeth appears in, it is said that he has killed everyone about him in battle against the Norwegian army. Very quickly after that, after a startled Macbeth is proclaimed the thane of Cawdor, Angus says, “Who was the thane lives yet, but under heavy judgment bears that life which he deserves to lose.” (Act I, Scene iii, Page 7) The thane of Cawdor's death means one of the things the three witches told Macbeth has come true. He realizes the others might come true too, and knows the only way he could become king is if King Duncan dies, along with his two sons. Macbeth can only conceive of one scenario in which all three of them die. They would have to be murdered. Immediately feeling guilty for just having the thought of murdering his king, Macbeth dismisses the fleeting

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