What are two examples of sacrifice in the play Macbeth?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a few examples of sacrifice throughout the play Macbeth. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Banquo both sacrifice their health and well-being by courageously fighting against Macdonwald's troops. After defeating Macdonwald, Macbeth and Banquo take on the Norwegian king's forces and defeat them too. King Duncan recognizes and rewards Macbeth for his brave sacrifice by naming him the Thane of Cawdor. Another example of sacrifice takes place towards the end of the play. In Act Five, Scene 7, Young Siward comes face to face with Macbeth during the final battle. Young Siward courageously fights Macbeth but is unable to kill him. Macbeth believes in the prophecy and does not fear any man. Young Siward sacrifices his life and dies during the final battle against Macbeth. 

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth's sacrifices in the play are not numerous.  In all actuality, Macbeth's sacrifices are forced by his actions.  First, after Macbeth murders Duncan, Macbeth finds that he can no longer sleep.  Therefore, Macbeth has sacrificed sleep to insure his claiming of the crown. Second, Macbeth sacrifices his sanity.  As he becomes more and more murderous, Macbeth loses his sanity.  Therefore, to gain the crown, and keep the crown, Macbeth sacrifices his sanity.

While sacrifice is typically looked at as something done for the better, here, Macbeth's sacrifices have very negative outcomes.  Yes, Macbeth looks at gaining the crown as positive.  The problem lies with the sacrifices he must make to gain and keep the crown.


lauradadgar | Student

Another two ideas:

-Lady Macbeth and Macbeth sacrifice their morals by killing many innocent people.

-Lady Macbeth sacrifices her sanity and happiness by murdering many and feeling so guilty from it that she dies because of it