3 Answers | Add Yours
Macbeth shows signs of his impending insanity even before he kills Duncan. Just prior to leaving to commit the murder, he hallucinates a dagger which he describes as “a dagger of the mind, a false creation/proceeding from the heat oppressed brain”(2.I.50-51). Immediately upon returning after he has committed the crime, it is obvious that he is highly disturbed by the crime that he has committed. He tells Lady Macbeth that he cannot pronounce the word “amen.” This implies that he is now unholy. In addition, this begins the insomnia that drives him to madness. He says that he heard someone say “Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor/ shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more” (II.2.55-57). He is already panicking regarding what he has done and hearing voices that foreshadow his sleeplessness. Then, Lady Macbeth scolds him for leaving the murder weapon behind and he admits that, “I’ll go no more./ I am afraid to think what I have done./ Look on ‘t again I dare not” (II.2.65-67). He’s terrified by what he has done and cannot bear to return to the scene of his bloody crime. Instead, Lady Macbeth must to there and clean up from his murders.
In act2 sc.2, we see Macbeth return from Duncan's chamber, after having done the 'deed'. He looks quite disturbed and terrified. 'Looking on his hands', Macbeth expresses his sense of discomfort: 'This is a sorry sight'. He ignores his wife's remonstrance to go on ventilating his remorse and penitence:
There's one did laugh in 's sleep, and one cried 'Murder!'
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them:
But they did say their prayers, and address'd them
Again to sleep..................
One cried 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the other:
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands:
Listening with fear, I could not say 'Amen',
When they did say 'God bless us!'
Macbeth seems deeply shocked that he could not utter the name of God when as a fallen man, a vile killer, he had 'most need of blessing'. His tormented conscience unveils itself in the form of delirious ravings. He regards himself as a cursed murderer who has killed sleep[Duncan in sleep being the embodiment of sleep] and is punished with sleeplessness:
Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep'............
Lady Macbeth further remonstrates her husband and asks him to get some water and 'wash the filthy witness' of his act from his hand. She goes to Duncan's chamber to keep the daggers there, and to 'gild the faces of the grooms withal' with blood. Macbeth is left alone to guilt and fear. He now envisions the conversion of the universal green into one pervading red:
What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes!
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Repeated knockings make Macbeth appalled and confused.
Later, when the first murderer reports to Macbeth at the door of the Banquet hall that Banquo has been dispatched to death though Fleance has escaped, Macbeth is once again extremely possessed with fear. He sees the ghost of Banquo as occupying his seat, shaking his 'gory locks' at him. His addresses to the ghost showing a paroxysm of fear expose his criminality before the nobles.
In the play, Macbeth commits only one murder himself--that is the murder of Duncan. And that is too after a lot of instigation by Lady Macbeth and after having undergone a lot of qualms . Immediately after the commission of Duncan's murder, Macbeth slips into a state of horror and contrition. Noticing his blood-drenched hands, Macbeth screams out and this passage beginning with "What hands are here? . . . Making the green one red" is eloquently self-explanatory.He commits Duncan's murder to gain the crown, once he gain it, he has the murders of Banquo and the wife and children of Macduff committed for the preservatiom of his crown. But when Banquo's son (the would-be king) and Macduff escape, he gets horrified,realizing the importance of the prophecies of the witches.
We’ve answered 318,930 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question