The Student Room Group

English Literature Macbeth

just wondering if any teachers and fellow students would have time marking my work out of 30, i feel like i am being undermarked.

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents the theme of guilt and regret in the play by showing how breaking the natural order of society can create immense guilt. This is shown in the quote, “Will all great Neptune’s oceans wash this blood clean from my hand”. In this quote, Macbeth feels a huge rush of panic as he tries to get rid of King Duncan’s blood from his hand. Shakespeare uses hyperbole in this quote, with Macbeth over exaggerating how stuck the blood is to his hand. This Would shock the Jacobean audience at the time, as he had killed the king, an act thought to be the most sinful out there, as it was believed that the king was chosen by God, and so performing regicide meant that you disobeyed God.

Furthermore, in the extract, this idea of guilt arriving once you have disorientated the natural order of society is further reiterated by Shakespeare. He illustrates this in the quote,”Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.” In this quote, Macbeth hears someone, claiming that they will not sleep for ever more as he has killed sleep himself. Shakespeare uses this quote to suggest that after Macbeth has killed King Duncan, not only is he feeling regretful about it, but he also has a sense of panic inside of him, cautious of his surroundings at all times. Shakespeare has done this to suggest that those who are murderers of the natural nature of the world will suffer great pain for the rest of their lives

Elsewhere in the extract, Shakespeare presents the theme of guilt and regret in the play by showing that those that are ridden with guilt will struggle to hold themselves together. This is shown in the quote, “I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” stuck in my throat”. In this quote, “”Amen” stuck in my quote” suggests that God has punished Macbeth for killing the king, who was thought to be chosen by God himself, and although this may not be true, the guilt has overcome Macbeth so much that he is unable to control himself and understand what is real and what is just a trick played his mind. This would be expected by a Shakespearean audience, as in the 15th century, when Macbeth was written, people feared God and were afraid to disobey him in any way, and those that did often had punishments against them.

Furthermore, in the rest of the play, Shakespeare presents the theme of guilt and regret by using the character of Lady Macbeth to show how no matter how ruthless and aggressive one person is, guilt can always over power them. We can see this when Lady Macbeth goes crazy with guilt near the end of the play. This is shown in the quote, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”. In this quote, Lady Macbeth believes that no matter how much she cleans her hand, the blood of King Duncan will stay there. However, there is no blood as she is hallucinating as she feels the guilt of her sins once she loses control over her husband. This has been used by Shakespeare to suggest that no matter how much ruthless and power one can obtain, guilt will always be able to overpower it.

To conclude, Shakespeare presents the theme of guilt and regret by using the character of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as both people are powerful in different aspects of their lives, however, guilt is indiscriminate and will eventually cause the downfall of a person with despicable sins, which we see with Macbeth performing as the tragic hero of the play.

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