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Module 1: Macbeth Themes

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XSIQ
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English - Guilt

Guilt

_ Macbeth's guilt comes to light through his imagination and we see this
very early in the play with the dagger scene and his subsequent recounting
of the voices he imagined while killing Duncan_.

After the murder, Macbeth's guilt is so great he becomes paralysed.
Macbeth's guilt about his initial act of murder leads him to commit more
murders in order to cover up for the first. He kills Duncan's two grooms,
then, after telling his wife that his mind is full of scorpions (3,2,40)
kills Banquo.

The audience is left with the impression that there are many more murders.
The Banquet scene clearly establishes Macbeth's guilt and it becomes clear
that Macbeth is very unhappy and ill at ease. His feelings of guilt and
fear lead to his tyrannical behaviour and culminate in his belief at the
end of the play that life is meaningless (5,5,26-28).

Lady Macbeth's guilt is demonstrated through her sleep walking and
compulsive behaviour seen in Act Five, Scene One. The doctor comments that
talking in one's sleep is an indication of guilt:

'infected minds
TO THEIR DEAF PILLOWS WILL DISCHARGE THEIR SECRETS' (5, 1, lines 74-75)

Lady Macbeth's guilt ends in her suicide.

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