A person’s guilt will eventually manifest itself on its own terms. For most people, guilt is a hard psychological experience. Thus, the effects can be very diverse. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the effects of guilt and having a guilty conscience is a recurring theme displayed throughout the text. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the two characters Shakespeare reveal to be most evil, experience an abundance of guilt and its unwanted side effects. Through the characters’ dialogue and soliloquies, the reader can pinpoint exact moments where guilt is unmissable. Shakespeare’s Macbeth clearly demonstrates how guilt can affect one’s actions, and it uses the concept to develop one of the ...view middle of the document...
" (V.i.30). Furthermore she says: Out, damned spot!
Out, I say! One: two: why, then ‘tis time to do ‘t. Hell
is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What
need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
pow’r to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old
man to have had so much blood in him?
Lady Macbeth is counting the chimes of the clock picturing the night that Duncan was murdered. Lady Macbeth also is stating that she believes no one can force her and Macbeth to answer for their crime, because they are too powerful. When Lady Macbeth refers to “the old man”, she is referring to Duncan. Lady Macbeth is clearly affected by her guilt when she begins to sleepwalk and babble.
Macduff’s character experiences guilt in a different manner than Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Macduff does not encounter auditory hallucinations or sleepwalk because of his guilt, he grieves for his guilt. Macduff leaves his family unprotected at his castle and travels to England. While Macduff is away, Macbeth sends a murderer to slay his wife and children. Later on, Ross goes to Macduff and tells him the news about what happened to his Macduff’s family. Macduff’s guilt becomes evident when he says, “ Merciful heaven! / What, man! Ne’er pull your hat upon your...