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I need a quote showing how Macbeth (in Shakespeare's Macbeth) shows a lack of guilt.My...

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mattg106 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 14, 2010 at 7:38 AM via web

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I need a quote showing how Macbeth (in Shakespeare's Macbeth) shows a lack of guilt.

My thoughts are that after killing Duncun, Macbeth no longer feels guilt and is pretty relentless. I need a quote demonstrating that he is a changed person and that his character is deteriorating. Please help. Thank you! :)

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 14, 2010 at 10:26 AM (Answer #1)

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For evidence that Macbeth no longer feels guilt once he is crowned king in Shakespeare's Macbeth, you could use his purposeful use of irony to deceive Banquo and clear himself of the appearance of guilt in Act 3.1.

Macbeth is in the process of arranging Banquo's murder, so he knows Banquo will be dead by tomorrow.

Yet Macbeth says:

We should have else desired your good advice,

Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,

In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow.

Is't far you ride?  (Act 3.1.21-24)

Macbeth wants to talk today, but he says he'll wait and talk tomorrow, knowing, of course, that Banquo will be dead tomorrow.  He says this in front of others, also, so that evidence will suggest that he knew nothing of any plot to kill Banquo and Fleance.

Furthermore, he then uses the moment to gain information, so he knows what time to set the trap for Banquo, by asking him how far he plans on riding.

These are not the acts of a man feeling guilt.

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linalarocca | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:34 AM (Answer #2)

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I believe that Act III, Scene 1, in Shakespeare's Macbeth is probably the best scene to gather evidence for the change in Macbeth's character. Be careful how you express where the change in his character is evident. He is full of guilt after he kills Duncan; however, Macbeth becomes ruthless in the events leading to Banquo's murder. I would advise you to first gather quotations after Duncan's murder to indicate how guilty Macbeth feels at this point. For instance, you could indicate Macbeth's guilt by quoting his dialogue in Act II, Scene 2, when he tells Lady Macbeth that he will not go back to place the daggers near the grooms and smear them with blood after he murders Duncan.

I'll go no more:

I am afraid to think what I have done;

Look on't again I dare not

As well, at the end of Act 2, Scene 2, Macbeth hears knocking. His guilt and regret is reflected in his desire to wake Duncan with the knocking if he could.

To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.

Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou

couldst!

In his soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 1, Macbeth is consumed with the witches' prophecy to Banquo. He also believes that his murder of Duncan will give Banquo's heirs the crown. He calls on fate to enter into a tournament with him and face him in mortal combat.

Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,

And champion me to the utterance! Who's there?

Soon after his soliloquy, Macbeth speaks to two murderers with the same rhetoric Lady Macbeth uses to convince Macbeth to murder Duncan. Macbeth questions the murderers' manhood. During the banquet scene, Act 3, Scene 4, one of the murderers appears to tell Macbeth what has occurred. The murderer tells Macbeth that Banquo's throat was cut. He later tells Macbeth that Banquo received twenty stabs to his head. Macbeth, who was a "friend" to Banquo, simply thanks the murderer for his work! He is upset about the fact that Fleance, Banquo's son, was able to escape. Macbeth is both calculating and ruthless in the plotting of Banquo's murder. In addition, Macbeth does not plan Banquo's murder with Lady Macbeth, which also indicates a transformation in his character.

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jackles | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2010 at 2:11 PM (Answer #3)

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No he's not a changed person, because he continues to kill.

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