Macbeth Essay Examples and Research Papers

36 essay samples on this topic

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The Guilt in the Play, Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 3 (589 words)




Guilt can drive anyone crazy if they let it. The story of Macbeth is a great example of this. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth did many things in the play to have guilt. Macbeth just handled it better than Lady Macbeth; she let the guilt take over her like a disease. Even though she broke down…

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Guilt in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Pages 3 (539 words)




Pubilis Syrus, an ancient Latin writer, once said, “A guilty conscience never feels secure.” He expressed that the apprehensiveness, uncertainty, and insecurity associated with guilt, the remorseful feeling of responsibility, play a universal role in the actions and thought processes of all human beings. In the case of Macbeth, a tragic play written by William…

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An Analysis of the Theme of Guilt in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 6 (1 458 words)




Macbeths guilt is seen throughout the play, especially after murders he has committed. Although there are many scenes that illustrate the power of guilt, three examples depict this the best. The first time that Macbeth feels guilt is after the witches prophecies. Macbeth is told that he will one day be king. If chance will…

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The Characteristics of a Bully Demonstrated by Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeares Play Macbeth

Pages 4 (754 words)


No two people are exactly alike, however the human race demonstrates how personality traits get passed down through generations. Although hundreds of years have passed since Shakespeare has written Macbeth, many of the characters’ personality traits can be found within people throughout history and within modern day society. In the play, Lady Macbeth demonstrates characteristics…

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Guilt in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 3 (682 words)




Shakespeare strongly associates guilt with destructive forces such as murder and suicide in Macbeth. But in reality, guilt is essential to humans because we need to feel responsibility for our actions. However, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both for the most part ignore this responsibility to make reparations. The growing guilt then, becomes a driving force…

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Lady Macbeths Desire to Rid Herself and Her Husband of All Feminine Things in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 5 (1 147 words)


Macbeth tells of the tragedy of the former Thane of Cawdor and his wife, and how their deadly desires led to both of their demises. Carolyn Asp wrote a piece in 1981 on the role of stereotypes in the play and of how taking those supposed ideals to extremes leads to destruction. She also wrote…

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Ambition and Cruelty of Lady Macbeth Analytical Essay

Pages 3 (594 words)


Macbeth Ambition

Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth demonstrates intense ambition. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth is extremely manipulative and cruel who has the power to control her husband’s actions. This is evident when she expresses that Macbeth is a coward. “Thou wouldst be great art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it” (I.5.17). Lady…

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The Effects of Choosing the Wrong Path on Lady Macbeth in the Play Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 2 (484 words)


Lady Macbeth, a Fx or a Fraud? Throughout the play Macbeth, many characters find themselves at a crossroads. The devilish Lady Macbeth is a wonderful example of the effects of choosing the wrong path. She, much like a tragic hero, begins at the top of her world. Then, fueled by nothing but greed and a…

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Lady Macbeth’s Use of Seduction in Act 1 Scene 5 of Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pages 3 (506 words)


Seducing Macbeth Every man has a weak spot, and al women know how to get to them, so they can get whatever they want out of them, truth, a favor, something they want them to do, etc. Shakespeare understood that well, he knew that no men is strong enough to control themselves when a woman,…

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Lady Macbeth: Macbeth’s True Villain Character Analysis

Pages 5 (1 127 words)

Character Traits


Macbeth Ambition

Even if you’re not a huge fan of Shakespeare, chances are you’ve heard of his character Lady Macbeth, from one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth. She is one of his most well-known characters for a reason: Her ruthless and cunning nature has enthralled people since her introduction. But what makes Lady Macbeth such an…

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Author: William Shakespeare
Characters: Duncan
Lady Macbeth
Lady Macduff
Macduff’s son

Original Language: English
Genre: Shakespearean tragedy
Setting: 11th century in Scotland
Date: 1603-1606

Essay on Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, tells the story of an unstable king who eventually feeds off the killings of others. When reading the first act, Macbeth was not like that. He was just a warrior who got told what to do by his wife. Not by any means did Macbeth act like a man. He first “became a man” and started to fall into madness after he killed King Duncan, the Thane of Cawdor which led to Macbeth gaining power. Lady Macbeths and Macbeth’s hallucinations, like the dagger seen when murdering King Duncan, not only question their ability to lead a kingdom but the hallucinations also bring forth the downward spiral of both these characters. The readers see through this play that Macbeth trusts other people’s judgment more than he trusts his own. He takes the witches’ prophecy by heart and later on believes he is untouchable. These weird sisters play with Macbeth’s mind all throughout the play because they know that Macbeth will believe in what they are saying. In the first act, the witches tell Macbeth and Banquo: “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.” Putting the quote into context, it states that Macbeth is going to be a ruler of a kingdom which already has a king. This king goes by the name of King Duncan. As soon as the weird sisters put this thought into his head, Macbeth starts to think crazy ideas.

Macbeth and his wife plan to kill the king, in order to be head of the throne. In this process of deciding whether or not they are going to do this, there is a back and forth type of arguing between the lady and him. The queen tells him that he will be less than a man if he does not go through with this act. The first example the reader sees of Macbeth’s hallucinations is when he sees a dagger when killing the king. This dagger can represent multiple things. It can represent all of the killings that are about to flow once Macbeth kills his first man. The dagger is also an example of his own thoughts. The mind is saying this is a subconscious way of letting the body know that what you are about to do is one of the worst sins known to man. The blood from the dagger can also portray many different things too. The main symbol this blood simulates is blood. This blood that Macbeth is going to spill will be there for the rest of his life. Macbeth says as he is about to kill: “Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?” In this quote, Macbeth starts to question his mental health. When he says “a false creation” this is one of the only times when he realizes something is actually going on in his head. His mind is questioning whether or not he should actually do this act or not. When looking at the dagger, Macbeth tries to figure out whether or not it is real.

Using the words “heat-oppressed mind” really hints to the readers of him having a mental illness too. The heat that he is feeling in his mind is because the only thing he has been thinking about is the murder and nothing else. If something is on someone’s mind, people can use the expression of the mind being hot and that is what this is referring to in the quote. He has been so taking over by the thought of being a king that nothing else matters to him. This scene is one of the first instances we see how crazy Macbeth truly is.

In act 3 Lady Macbeth refers back to the dagger when questioning Macbeth’s manhood. She says: “This is the very painting of your fear, This is the air-drawn dagger which you said Led you to Duncan”. Lady Macbeth uses this concept of the dagger to point out Macbeth’s fears. She is once again using this against him, and she brings his manhood into question again. Instead of taking her husband’s side, she points out his flaws and brings out the worst in him. She clearly states that Macbeth is just having another one of his fits and is trying to keep the situation under control. This nagging and questioning of the lady strongly contribute to Macbeth’s madness. The peak of Macbeth’s hallucinations is right after he kills his friend Banquo, who he believes is coming after him and his throne. After the murder of Duncan, that is the first thought in Macbeth’s head when trying to figure out what to do with someone who he feels threatened by. He is immediately struck by fear when he observes the ghost. There is something about Banquo’s ghost sitting in Macbeth’s chair that really gets him mad.

One reason that might be is because of the witches prophecy. The weird sisters state that Banquo will not be king, but his descendants and him sitting in the chair signifies that they are coming for him. Macbeth says to the ghost: “Avaunt, and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee-Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; Thou hast no speculation in those eyes”.

Just the fact that Macbeth is trying to convince himself that Banquo is dead really concerns to all who watch. The first thing that is extremely concerning is him seeing this ghost and being the only one that can. The reader can wonder if him hallucinating is his internal guilt coming back to haunt him, like the dagger in the previous acts. The blood from the dagger and the bloody body of Banquo both represent something important. The blood is a symbol of guilt in this story. Guilt is the main reason why his mental illness is an extreme problem for him. One characteristic of a king usually is not having guilt for those who you have killed. When reading other plays or stories, the king never feels bad for what he has done to others. There is a sense of respect for the enemy but never guilt. This is one of the reasons why Macbeth was always going to be destined for death and not as thriving as a leader. As readers, we are constantly focused on Macbeth’s personal issues but tend to forget about the Lady.

In Act 5, Lady Macbeth says: “Here’s the smell of blood still”, after washing her hands over and over again in the sink. This blood on her hands is a hallucination for all of the bad she has done alongside the king. He is not the only one mental health has taken over. Lady Macbeth was not able to take the guilt from all of the murder anymore. The demanding queen’s actions Have finally caught up to her and she is not able to be the boss of Macbeth anymore. Blood is a major symbol that emphasizes the fact that there is madness within the King and Queen and neither of them is immune to forgetting about the past.

Theoretically, if they were both able to wash off their “blood” and forget about it, then their sins would have gone away. The constant feel of guilt eventually led to both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s downfall and demise. Macbeth was a gullible leader who listened to whatever prophecy he could and trusted his wife more than he trusted his thoughts. His madness and hallucinations caught up to him, and by the end of the play, he was not the leader the prophecies told him out to be. He was a failure, and his people turned against him because Macbeth was a bad leader and unstable. Madness was rooted in Macbeth ever since he was a kid, but it did not show up until blood started to spill on his hands.

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