Did Macbeth lose himself in his conquest for power?
Who and what motivated him?
Did he lose/ignore his conscience?
People cannot put aside their consciences without losing themselves.
I need to write an essay discussing this statment with comparisons to Macbeth.
However, I'm not sure what arguments are the best to use.
I'm thinking of mentioning his overdriving hubris and ambition, and how they seemed to overshadow his conscience. And also including the quote "Macbeth doth murdered sleep" saying sleep represents his conscience and how it won't let him rest after the sins he has committed.
But I'm not sure if Macbeth or any other characters, especially Lady macbeth loose themselves indefinitely.. because they seem to revert back to their earlier personas at the end of the play..
1 Answer | Add Yours
Very broad question you have here - I am only going to touch on what, to me, is one of the central issues in Macbeth. You need to decide whether Macbeth was an evil character with ambitions to kill Duncan before meeting the witches or whether it is the interference of the witches that prompts Macbeth to take the path he chooses.
Examining Act I we are presented with many different impressions of Macbeth. He is presented as a loyal and brave soldier, full of valour and having accomplished great deeds on the battlefield. At the same time, these deeds are presented as violent, and we are left to question whether this violence hints at something slightly perverse.
Also, Lady Macbeth describes her husband as being "too full o'the milk of human-kindness", which is a negative aspect in her eyes. This is something that she sees as a weakness, and perceives that she must overrule her husband's weaker side by her force of will. We see as well that when Macbeth does have second thoughts it is his wife that cajoles him on and forces him to continue with their plan.
Yet at the same time Macbeth is very open and honest about the role that his ambition plays, and wary of its dangers:
I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambitoin, which o'earleaps itself
And falls on th'other -
Macbeth is well aware of the dangers of giving in to ambition, but once he has set himself on this path, he cannot turn back - blood begets blood, and his conscience tortures Macbeth with his actions.
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