Driven to Madness Macbeth

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kenMagus1600
Words 1316
Pages 6
Authors regularly utilize a character’s conscience in their works, allowing the audience to identify with the character. Edgar Allan Poe is most known for this type of writing in his dark, gothic literature. In one of his famous short stories, The Tell-Tale Heart, the character’s conscience brings him to insanity after he murders an old man. Not only does the use of a man’s deteriorating sanity entice the audience, but also each reader is able to relate to Poe’s character on at least one level. Similarly in Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are illustrated as paralleling one another’s feelings of guilt and anguish because of their mutual crimes. These emotions are seen through Shakespeare’s symbolism of blood, sleeplessness and darkness. Macbeth’s guilt is most notably seen by his references to the blood of those he killed. Shakespeare uses this symbol to illustrate how the conscience weighs on Macbeth’s thoughts. When Macbeth imagines to see blood covering his hands, he cries, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?” (2.2.57-59). The immense guilt, already beginning to trouble Macbeth’s conscience, is set off by the enormity of the deed he has committed against King Duncan. He feels as though nothing can wash away this crime, and goes on to say that the blood on his hands would even turn all the oceans red. Also, during the battle as Macbeth sees Macduff coming towards him in his castle, Macbeth yells, “Get back thee. My soul is too much charged / With the blood of thine already” (5.7.5-6). Macbeth knows what will happen when they fight, and he does not want to deal with any more of the guilt. The blood of Macduff’s family is hanging on Macbeth’s conscience, and the thought of suffering even more makes Macbeth nervous. Shakespeare skillfully uses blood to make it the easiest symbol to recognize…...

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