In tragedies, characters often serve to act as instruments of the suffering of others. This is particularly true in the play Macbeth, in which the main character’s actions lead to the subsequent distress and woe of other characters. In the play, the main character, Macbeth, directly contributes to the anguish of other characters, succumbing to his own bloodthirstiness as he ruthlessly removes threats to his desired power. Macbeth brings great suffering upon others, and the subsequent violence and carnage adds to the distress and tragedy of the play as a whole; the tragic vision of the play is consequently exemplified.
Macbeth murders many to gain power. He causes the suffering of families and murders former friends. The violence starts with the murder of the king, Duncan, who’d trusted and honored Macbeth; Macbeth kills him to gain the position of king. Duncan’s death is the catalyst; Macbeth subsequently begins to use violence ...view middle of the document...
3.230-34). This quote shows the distress and guilt Macduff feels over his family’s death. Not only has Macbeth brought on the suffering of Macduff’s family, but he also causes the distress and despair of Macduff himself. Macduff, like the family of all of Macbeth’s victims, feels the anguish that comes with loss.
Macbeth not only murders innocents but also brings the suffering of those closest to him, even those who originally encouraged the immorality and violence. His actions result in the mental instability of his wife, Lady Macbeth, and lead to her death. Terrorized by her own guilt, Lady Macbeth soon has trouble separating reality from fiction. As Macbeth commits more crimes, her condition worsens. Though she is no innocent victim, nevertheless her own suffering is brought by Macbeth’s wrongdoing. In the final scene with Lady Macbeth, she is described as scrubbing her hands, muttering about the copious amount of blood that stains her hands. She tells an imaginary Macbeth, “What’s done cannot be undone” (5.1.47). As her mind finally unravels, it is revealed to the reader the extent in which she has focused on the shared guilt between her and her husband. Initially, Lady Macbeth said, “A little water clears us of this deed” (2.2.67). She thought that a little water would cleanse their sins, but it is now shown that she has realized the finality and irreversibility of their actions. This revelation completes her mental disintegration, one that was worsened with each immorality committed by Macbeth. He has brought the suffering of not only those who oppose him, but those who have helped him. All around him, people suffer because of his actions, adding to the tragedy of the play.
Macbeth serves to cause the suffering of others; his violent and selfish actions, born of his ambition, bring about the demise and distress of those around him. Macbeth’s ambition leads to the death of many, and the relentless suffering consequent of his actions adds to the comprehensive tragedy of Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth is an instrument of the suffering of other characters. From his enemies to his supporters, few are left untouched by the despair he causes; Macbeth causes and contributes to the tragedy of the play.