Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Are there any quotes that show Macbeth's self-awareness? If so, could you please include some techniques present in those quotes.

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Ester Baumgartner, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes, Macbeth certainly does show self-awareness, even from the beginning of the play. When he first hears the prophecies of the witches—namely that he will be king one day—Macbeth is already aware that he's thinking of killing Duncan and that it's an evil idea. He says in an aside,

Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? (I.iii)

The predictions of the witches, he says, cannot be a bad thing because he benefits by gaining a higher title. He thinks, though, it can't be all good because he's already considering murdering Duncan: "why do I yield to that suggestion / Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair." Macbeth is already aware that he is making a bad decision. He is able to weigh both sides of the issue, as well.

After he commits the murder, Macbeth knows that he...

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