What are all of the seven deadly sins committed in Macbeth?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that the sin of lust is not portrayed in Macbeth. The porter does discuss lust, and Malcolm claims to possess insatiable lust when he tests Macduff, who comes to the English court to bring him home, but we see none of the characters actually exhibit sexual lust onstage. Likewise, gluttony, or physical overindulgence, does not factor. Further, sloth, or extreme laziness, is also not depicted in the play. Most characters are, in fact, terribly active, moving around a lot and doing quite a bit.

Greed, wrath, envy, and pride, on the other hand, factor heavily in the play. Macbeth is very greedy for power, as is his wife. Even before they see one another in Act 1, Scene 5, each has already begun to plan how they can ascend to the throne. Macbeth, however, does try to stop the murderous plot before Duncan is killed, but his wife manipulates him, calling him a "coward" and telling him that he's not really a man unless he goes through with it (1.7.47). In this way, she wounds his pride, emasculating him and making him feel as though she will never respect him -- or let him respect himself -- unless he does her bidding. Thus, her greed and his pride seem to set them on the path to ruin.

Macbeth experiences a good deal of wrath, or extreme anger, toward the Weird Sisters. After his disastrous dinner party, he visits the sisters again to get more information about his fate. When he wants to know if Banquo's descendants will ever rule Scotland (a prediction which makes him terribly envious of Banquo, whose line will benefit from Macbeth's crime), the sisters deny him, and he becomes very angry. He says,

I will be satisfied. Deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! (4.1.119-120)

His anger only grows when he sees a line of kings, descended from Banquo, and he shouts,

Filthy hags,
Why do you show me this? (4.1.130-131)

Macbeth's terrible envy of Banquo induces his awful wrath toward the Weird Sisters.

lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The seven deadly sins are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. In Macbeth, these are all present to a greater or lesser degree. One could argue that lust is present in the form of a lust for power on the part of Lady Macbeth. Once she begins to contemplate having the crown, she develops an insatiable thirst for it that she cannot control. Also, the scene with the Porter talks about lust, or rather, how the enemy of lust is drunkenness. The sin of gluttony is represented not by an overindulgence in food but by an overindulgence in wealth: the wealth Macbeth and Lady Macbeth gain and want to keep more than their souls. Greed is present when Macbeth, having been given the title Thane of Cawdor, still wants the title of King, even though he knows what he will have to do to get it. Sloth, in general, means laziness, but in terms of the seven deadly sins, it can mean inaction. In the case of the Macbeths, Macbeth starts to talk himself out of wanting the throne, but he does nothing to stop the plan to kill Duncan once it is underway. Lady Macbeth, after questioning Macbeth about what he intends to do about Banquo, does nothing to stop his plan once she suspects what he is going to do. Wrath is anger, and Macbeth suffers from this sin all the way through the play. A really good example is when he thinks Duncan is rebelling against him, so he kills Duncan’s whole family. Envy means to want what someone else has. In Macbeth’s case, he has been guaranteed the crown by the witches, but once he has it, he cannot help but envy Banquo, who has been told his sons will be king. This leads to Macbeth’s decision to kill his best friend. Finally, pride is the feeling that you are somehow better than others in thought or deed. Macbeth has pride, but Lady Macbeth has more. She believes that her husband should be king, and it is her pride in him that leads her to push him toward that goal.