Macbeth's Wild Conscience Essay

1137 words - 5 pages

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Mizuki SerizawaMr. MacKayENG 3UO13 November 2008Macbeth's Wild ConscienceThe level of conscience can make a deep impact on one's actions. Conscience is the attitude which informs one's moral judgment before he or she performs any action, whether it be moral or immoral. However, a person without a conscience has no limit either way. In order to determine the extent to which this applies to Shakespeare's Macbeth, one should consider that at the beginning of the play, Macbeth was a valiant soldier with a good, clear conscience. In the middle, Macbeth completely loses his conscience. In the end, Macbeth regains his conscience, but it is too late to save him from his downfall. Throughout the play, Macbeth experiences different levels of conscience. It is through his brilliant expression and knowledge of the human mind and conscience that Shakespeare is believed to be the greatest writer in the history of English literature.During the beginning of the play, Macbeth clearly demonstrates that he has a conscience. Macbeth feels anxious and disheveled when he is named Thane of Cawdor. He knows deep inside that this was going against the natural order of things. This is proven when he says, "I am thane of Cawdor: If good why do I yield to that suggestion?" (1.3.143-144). He does not try to rationalize by pretending to himself that murdering King Duncan would be a good idea. In addition, he feels loyal towards Duncan and feels he should protect him. Macbeth initially told Lady Macbeth that "[They] will proceed no further in this business: / [Duncan] hath honour'd [him] of late; and [he] have bought / Golden opinions from all sorts of people" (Shakespeare 1.7.33-35). Macbeth appreciates the respect from Duncan and does not feel that Duncan deserves to be murdered. Although he has a clear conscience, his beliefs of manhood are stronger as is proven when Lady Macbeth is pressuring him to be a man and kill the king. The thought of killing Duncan makes Macbeth feel so guilty that he becomes paranoid and has a vision of a floating dagger that he cannot grasp. He wonders whether what he sees is real or a "dagger of the mind, a false creation / Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain" (2.1.38-39). After Macbeth kills the king, he automatically knows that things are not going to get easier for him. He thought he heard a voice cry out: "Sleep no more, / Macbeth does murder sleep" (2.2.33-34). Those were the voices inside his head, his conscience feeling guilty. He knows that he will no longer be able to sleep at night after the horrible things he has done. Hence, in the beginning it is clear that Macbeth has a conscience, but it is in jeopardy, as his mind is corrupted by the witches' prophecies and his and Lady Macbeth's greed.During the middle of the play, Macbeth exhibits the loss of his conscience. Macbeth becomes obsessed with securing his position as king and does not care what he has to do to get it, even if it means killing his friend...

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