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How does Shakespeare convey fear, pity, and hatred in Macbeth? What are some examples?  

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simpleheart | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 2, 2009 at 3:11 PM via web

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How does Shakespeare convey fear, pity, and hatred in Macbeth? What are some examples?

 

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM (Answer #1)

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Ironically for such a courageous warrior, it is Macbeth who demonstrates the most fear in the play. After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth is clearly shaken. After carrying the daggers away from the scene of Duncan's murder, he refuses to take them back and smear blood on Duncan's attendants, as had been the plan:

I'll go no more.

I am afraid to think what I have done;

Look on 't again I dare not.

Shortly thereafter, someone knocks on the castle gate, which sends Macbeth into another spasm of fear:

Whence is that knocking?

How is 't with me, when every noise appalls me?

Pity is found in Macduff's reaction when he learns his defenseless wife and children have been slain. He imagines what they final moments of life must have been and thinks of how innocent they had been:

Did heaven look on,

And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,

They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,

Not for their own demerits but for mine

Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!

Hatred is also expressed by Macduff when he meets Macbeth on the field of battle. First, Macduff calls him a "hell-hound." He then tells Macbeth that he is a bloody villain. When Macbeth refuses to fight, Macduff declares with hatred:

The yield thee, coward,

And live to be the show and gaze o' th' time;

We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,

Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,

"Here may you see the tyrant."

Macduff's hatred for Macbeth is bottomless since it was Macbeth who gave the order to kill Macduff's family.

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