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Saturday, September 10, 2011

English Literature Essay: The Three Great Crimes Done by Macbeth by NKTEH

“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (Shakespeare 1.3.46-50)

This quote is taken from Act 1, scene 3. It shows the prophecies said by the third Witch to Macbeth that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland. When Macbeth listens to such good news from the third witch, he is shocked yet interested. Curiosity reveals his reasons, he asks the third witches for more information about it. However, the third witch did not do so because she is now paying her attention to Banquo. She tells Banquo that he will never be king but his sons will become king.

Because of the prophecies said by the third Witch, Macbeth is influenced and is ambitious to be the Scottish King. He now become more greedy and wants to become the King of Scotland. He does not want to be only a General anymore.

Such attractive prophecies have lured Macbeth to do be cruel and irrational. It also gives Macbeth the desire to murder to achieve his ambition; thus, he betrays the King of Duncan and even kills him. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the character of Macbeth, who carried out 3 killings throughout the play, to show his readers how the characteristic of a person can deteriorate and change, or even become worse due to the influence of something that is attractive.

Macbeth’s character is revealed in his first great crime, the murder of King of Duncan. “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? ” (Shakespeare, 2.2.12-13) This quote is taken from Act 2 Scene 2. It is said by Macbeth after he kills King Duncan. Under the influence of alcohol that Lady Macbeth had served to the attendants, Macbeth has the courage to murder of King Duncan. When the drunken attendants are unconscious, Macbeth grabs such a golden opportunity to kill the King. After the killing of King Duncan, Macbeth’s hand is full of blood and he feels guilty. The guilt makes him and Lady Macbeth feel mad and nervous. Macbeth has lost his sleep after killing the King of Duncan.

“As I am his kinsman and his subject…then as his host.” (Shakespeare 1.7.14-15).

Macbeth is the kinsman, object and host of Duncan. Duncan has been a good king as he is universally respected as a virtuous king.“If it were done when ’tis done,” he says, “then ’twere well / It were done quickly” (Shakespeare 1.7. 12).

Lady Macbeth is the one who plays a crucial role in the killing of the King of Duncan. She encourages Macbeth to commit the crime when Macbeth was confused and hesitate to kill. She even calls her husband a coward in order to raise and increase his desire to kill the king. She can be described as the mastermind of the killing of Duncan yet it is Macbeth who kills. Therefore, we may say that Macbeth is not really influenced by the evil side in his soul until he loses his thinking ability because before he carries out the murder, Macbeth does feel guilty and even has an idea of canceling out his plan, but his wife, Lady Macbeth do not allow and permit him to do so. This shows that Macbeth is not evil totally at this point because he did think twice or even hesitated before committing the killing of King of Duncan. Besides that, he also became confused, worried, afraid, anxious and doubtful to kill his lord. Before the murder, Macbeth somehow feels much guilt also. This famous hallucination of dagger can prove it. (Sparknotes). Macbeth’s trepidation is also echoed by several portentous sounds of knocking. He is afraid that his crime will finally be discovered by someone and his ambition to become king will be shattered. (Sparknotes) Therefore, we can conclude that he begins to have the strong determination to be crowned as a king. Actually, Duncan is killed by Macbeth. The murder is done in haste. This can be seen the moment when he forgets to locate the dagger to the chamberlains. Macbeth’s desire in the first murder of King of Duncan is not that clear. It can be seen during his soliloquy. He muses on Duncan’s kindness and virtue that he has shown. We can see that he still loyal to the king. Apart from that, we may also say that the evil side of Macbeth had controlled him without his consciousness and leads him to kill King of Duncan. Moreover, Macbeth hesitates and is confused before conducting the killing of King Duncan. Even though Macbeth falters during the murder, he somehow cannot quell his desire to become the king. Without his consciousness, his ethic starts to deteriorate from the decision to kill Duncan. His character begins to deteriorate after the killing of King of Duncan. The murder of King of Duncan also shows the deterioration of Macbeth. "Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep." (Shakespeare, 2.2.34-5) This quote is taken form Act 2, Scene 2. It is said by Macbeth to himself after killing the King of Duncan. In the starting of the play, Macbeth is called “Thane of Glamis”. When the play furthers on, he becomes “Thane of Cawdor”. He is the General of Scotland and is loyal to King of Duncan. As the play progresses, he is influenced by the three witches. The third witches told him that he can become the King of Scotland too. Due to his greedy, ambitious, and rash, he changes his personality totally. He wishes to take over the throne. He and his wife even plan a series of plans to take over the throne. In the beginning of the play, we know that he is the General of Scotland that serve the King of Duncan and do not own any idea of killing King of Duncan in order to take over the throne. However, as the play progresses, he becomes cruel and colder, hard and more ambitious. After committing the murder of King of Duncan, his personality further develops to guilt and madness. Macbeth and his wife cannot even have a good sleep at night because they always recall the memories of their ghastly crime. This anxiety causes him to commit more murders and further dig himself into his grave. He says to Banquo, “Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir, and I’ll request your presence.” He said this in order to kill Banquo that night showing his cold and callous heart. Macbeth does feel guilty after the murder. He thinks that the blood of King of Duncan that sticks on his hand cannot be washed away. Moreover, such murder eventually creates more bloodthirsty series of murder by Macbeth. The murder makes him become more desperate and greedy in conserving his crown and this is the starting point of his deterioration of his character. Macbeth’s personality changes from a loyal general to a man who wants to take over the throne of Scotland. His character also deteriorates from this point onwards.

The second murder in the Macbeth is the death of Banquo which represents the

deterioration of moral in a greater degree which happens in the human soul and heart.

“That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead, Whom we, to gain our

peace, have sent to peace, Than on the torture of the mind to lie In restless

ecstasy.” (Shakespeare 3.2 line 21-24) The quote above is said by the Macbeth in the Act Three, Scene Two. In act three, Macbeth is in a situation that he is not happy with because he is not satisfied and comfortable with the situation that he is in. He feels that Banquo might be a threat to his crown as Banquo sense that Macbeth has something to do with the death of King Duncan. His suspicion is actually correct that Macbeth actually is the murderer of King Duncan. After Macbeth knows that the Banquo knows the evil deeds that he has done, his character deteriorates more into a higher degree than before as he decides to hire three murderers to kill him and his son, Fleance. He plans to carry out his evil deeds, that is the murdering of bothfather and son when they are in the journey to the palace. It was a rain on that night, the two murderers disguised themselves within a place which is full of trees. Without any knowledge about it, Banquo and his son are attacked by three murderers that are sent by Macbeth to complete his evil deeds.

Banquo quickly asks Fleance to flee away from the scene when he realize that the safety of both of them is in threat. Despite groping in the forest which is in darkness, Fleance manages to escape from the three murders that is going to kill them. However, Banquo is brutally murdered by three murderers without having a chance to protect himself from the cold blooded murder while Leance manage to escape successfully without any injury. Banquo is very unsatisfied when he was being murder because he does not have a chance to seek revenge for King Duncan. From this, we can see that the soul of Banquo doesn’t rest in peace when he is being kill. Before his death, he asks his son, Fleance to seek revenge on Macbeth for King Duncan and him. He also hopes that his son one day might overthrow Macbeth which is evil. “Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats: Yet he's good that did the like for Fleance. 20 If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.” (Shakespeare 3.4 line 18-20) The quote above is said by Macbeth in the Act Three, Scene Four. After the killing of Banquo by, Macbeth does not feels sorry for his action. He thinks that the murder of Banquo and his son is indeed the best way for him to protect the crown.

He has no idea that the thing he did is totally senseless. This is because to end someone’s life just to satisfy our own evil deed or to gain something that doesn’t belong to us is indeed unnecessary. Because of the crown, the moral within him collapse and the evil within his soul gain control of him. This can be see when he got the courage to kill his friend, Banquo and even Fleance. The idea of killing Fleance is the most unnecessary as the kid is just innocent. He refuses to set him free and wants to kill him so that he does not cause any threat towards him in the future. In the second death, that is the killing of Banquo, it is shown that evil is slowly gaining control over Macbeth. Shakespeare wants to show that a person’s greed and desire for power and wealth may cause the person’s moral to deteriorate.

The third murder in Macbeth is the death of Lady Macduff and her son which indicates the cruelty and evil that exist in Macbeth is at the greatest degree. “And even now, To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done: The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool. This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.”(Shakespeare 4.1 line 154-160) The quote above is said by Macbeth in Act Four, Scene One. In this scene, Macbeth’s moral totally collapse when he leads a pack of murderers to kill Lady Macduff and Macduff’s son who is innocent and has nothing to do with the crown. The third killing is also a plan murder as he sends his messenger to find out the exact location of Macduff and his family member. Macduff has fled to the England, leaving his wife and son is at his castle unprotected. Macbeth seizes this opportunity to kill Lady Macduff and his son when he finds out that the weak and innocent Lady Macduff and her son is left unprotected. “Whither should I fly? I have done no harm.”(Shakespeare 4.4. line 68-69) The quote above is said by Lady Macduff in Act Four, Scene Two. From the quote above, Lady Macbeth claims that she hasn’t done anything wrong as she is t to leave the castle by the messenger. Her messenger knows she and her son’s safety is in threat. This is because the messenger knows that Macbeth is leading a pack of murderer and Macbeth is willing to take their lives because they are related to Macduff. Macbeth who’s moral already collapse in a way that he doesn’t show any sympathy towards Lady Macduff and son because Macduff has left them. Apart from showing no sympathy, he kills the woman and boy which is totally innocent and do not have the strength to fight back. From here, we can see that Macbeth is totally out of his mind and he thinks that murdering someone is a way to solve things. He kills both Lady Maduff just because he wants Macduff to suffer the feel and taste of losing both wife and son. From here, we can see that Macbeth becomes a character which is senseless and evil. The evil within him has gain total control of him and the moral that exists within him has deteriorated until the highest degree. He doesn’t act like a normal human being but like a animal which does not feel sorry on the killing that he has done. From here, we can see that he is totally different from last time which he feels guilty after the killing of King Duncan. The murder of Lady Macduff and her son show the evil and wicked side in that exists in Macbeth. The evil and wicked side of him is slowly worsening. His morality has fallen to a extremely low degree. A person who has morality like Macbeth will not be accepting by society.

“Evil begets evil, but evil will not prevail. ” Macbeth's own lust for power, fueled by his wife's greed, brings about murder and mayhem; but in the end, the evil leads to Macbeth's undoing and downfall so that Malcolm, the rightful leader, can return peace and order to the Kingdom. (Sparknotes) In Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, Shakespeare uses the character of Macbeth to show to his readers on how a characteristic of a person can deteriorate and change, or even becomes worse due to the influence of something that is attractive. It will probably lure someone to do whatever things in order to achieve their dreams, including committing the crime and law.

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well. It were done quickly. If th' assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch, With his surcease, success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and end-all-here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We'd jump the life to come." (Shakespeare, 1.7.1-7)

This quote is taken from Act 1, scene 7, where Macbeth is talking to himself. Shakespeare is right that a person may change his or her personality and characteristic as time passed by. Their characteristic may also even deteriorate and becomes worse due to the influence of something that is attractive. Macbeth’s character is disintegrated by his interest in achieving his ambition to become the king and upholding his crown. William Shakespeare tries to show to his readers that Macbeth’s thirst in obtaining the crown and throne. So he has killed Duncan with full of guilt. The following killing by Macbeth is to maintain his throne and crown as a King of Scotland. He even kills his best friend, Banquo as well. The deterioration of Macbeth’s character furthers on when he killed Lady Macduff and her son, without any sympathy and mercy.

Works Cited

Phillips, Brian. ``Sparknote: Macbeth’’. 23 October 2007


Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth”. 2nd revised edition. New York: Signet Classic, 1998.

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