What is Macbeth's internal conflict? (only act 1 and 2)i know that i should talk about the murder of duncan and his guilt.. but what more can i say to enrich my essay?

2 Answers

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth's internal conflicts do deal with more than just his guilt, or specifically, his guilt is caused by specifics.

First, he, showing personality traits that present role reversal concerning genders, worries that Duncan has been a humble and fair ruler.  He wants the throne badly, but hates to assassinate someone who has treated him so well. 

He also hates to give up the reputation he has developed.  He's received honors from others in the recent past, and hates to jeopardize that by assassinating a king.

Finally, he worries about his eternal salvation.  He knows doing what he wants to do--assassinating Duncan--will cost him his salvation. 

Macbeth's internal conflicts are complex.  He is terribly ambitious, but he is also aware that what he wants to do and later does, is hideous.  It's even possible he's had the assassination of Duncan on his mind before the play opens, which would explain why he flinches when he first hears the prediction that he will be king from the witches:  it's possible he flinches because he knows what his being king will take. 

User Comments

kjsingh's profile pic

kjsingh | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The  conflict in mind as well as indecisiveness is conspicuously notable in the Macbeth . It is also one of the important theme of the novel. The internal conflict lands the Macbeth in the wavering decisiveness  about whether or not he should kill Duncan.  Afterwards, in spur of moment  he rashly decided to kill Banquo. This  initial indecisiveness leads to the downfall of the couple. This creation of an external hell also symbolically corresponds to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's internal suffering. The conflict-ridden   mind keeps  Macbeth in a  neurotic, relentless and  enraged state.