What is a quote from Macbeth that shows his views on order?

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favoritethings's profile pic

favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Macbeth certainly believes that a sin or a wrongdoing will prompt a repercussion or consequence that is appropriate and unavoidable.  After he has committed the murder of Duncan, he worries that, because he murdered the king while the king was sleeping, he will no longer be able to sleep peacefully himself.  He thinks he heard a voice cry, "'Sleep no more!' to all the house. / 'Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore / Cawdor / Shall sleep no more.  Macbeth shall sleep no more'' (2.2.54-57).  In his mind, the natural order of the world necessitates that such consequences exist.

Likewise, after Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo at his dinner party, he tells his wife, "It will have blood they say; blood will have blood. / Stones have been known to move, and trees to / speak" (3.4.152-154).  Again, Macbeth refers to a sort of natural order by giving voice to the idea that nature herself will work to reveal his guilt.  Macbeth, in murdering his king, has disrupted the natural order, and he believes that nature, now, will betray him.

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Noelle Matteson | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Macbeth’s reluctance to kill King Duncan demonstrates his respect for order. He worries about justice visiting him not just in the afterlife but here on earth: “this even-handed justice / Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice / To our own lips.” In this soliloquy, Macbeth also describes why he should not kill his king. Macbeth is Duncan’s “kinsman and his subject,” so he should be loyal to Duncan, who is both his relation and superior. It is his duty to respect the monarch for the sake of familial, personal and national well-being. On top of that, Duncan is staying at Macbeth’s castle. Many cultures take hospitality very seriously. As Duncan’s host, Macbeth should protect rather than harm the king: “[I] should against his murderer shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself.” Duncan is also a humble and virtuous man. Macbeth acknowledges that murdering him goes against the natural and social order. However, Lady Macbeth very quickly convinces him to overcome these doubts. He decides that disrupting all order is a necessary price for the crown.

Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips. He's here in double trust;
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. I.vii

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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How about this one from Act I, scene 4?

The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour.


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