The root of guilt in "Macbeth"

Essay by runescape October 2006

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One can no more prevent the mind from returning to an idea than the seas from returning to a shore. In the case of the guilty, it is called remorse." Victor Hugo's examination of Jean Valjean's thoughts in "Les Misérables" applies to everybody. Humans can respond to this guilt from mistakes in different ways. Sometimes, we accept our mistakes and can carry on with our lives. Other times, we slip into a vicious cycle of denial, destroying our conscience, while other times, guilt can consume our every thought and destroys our being. Guilt is a very powerful emotion that can destroy even the strongest people unless they can find forgiveness. Lady Macbeth feels guilty about her part in Duncan's murder. Her intense regret is best expressed in her sleep walking scene in Act V, scene i. Her sadness is also expressed in Act III, when she misses her husband's love and endearment.

This guilt eats away at Lady Macbeth's soul, and she eventually commits suicide.

Lady Macbeth allowed her guilt to fill her every thought and she let this feeling get to the point where she could bear it no more. Her mind kept on returning to thoughts of remorse she had for encouraging her husband to kill Duncan. Because Lady Macbeth was not able to forgive herself for her part in Duncan's murder, her guilt led to her death. Macbeth responded quite differently to his guilt than Lady Macbeth. At first, he was very distraught by it. He was paralyzed by guilt for an instant, when he was unable to go back to plant the daggers on the guards. Later, he expressed his remorse to Lady Macbeth with the phrase "scorpions in my mind." He envisioned Banquo's ghost in the dining hall, and temporarily became insane. Through...