This deed, the murder of King Duncan, has unanticipated consequences for both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Discuss Macbeth, by William Shakespeare explores the theme of power, sleep and guilt.
For Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to be able to be on the throne and fulfill the prophecy, they need to murder Kind Duncan. Unfortunately, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth didn’t think of the unanticipated consequences of committing the murder. The consequences that they are faced with include guiltiness, lack of sleep and broken relationships.The murder of King Duncan comes after Macbeth has heard the prophecies made by the witches. He was told that he will not only be Thane of Cawdor, but King of Scotland. Macbeth and Banquo discuss about the witches, and the latter believes that the witches are evil and tells Macbeth to beware of the prophecies.
However, when Ross arrives to confirm the news that Macbeth is now Thane of Cawdor, he is willing to fulfil the witches’ prophecy to be king and starts thinking about the murder of King Duncan. ‘I am Thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestionWhose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,’ Macbeth sends his wife a letter detailing the encounter with the witches and about the prophecies they made. Lady Macbeth, also willing to be on the throne, immediately resolves to have Duncan killed to fulfill...
‘The raven himself to hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan’. That my keen knife see not the wound it makes’. Macbeth arrives at the castle and announces that Kind Duncan will be there soon. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth begin to plot the assassination of the king. The latter arrives at the castle and is welcomed by Lady Macbeth. Macbeth debates whether or not he should kill Duncan, and after coming up with two strong arguments against the deed, he decided to go no further with it. ‘He’s here in double trust as I am his kinsman and his subject’ . His host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife himself’ .
However, when Lady Macbeth reproves him for his cowardice, he responds, “I dare do all that may become a man/ who dares do more is none’ , and he is convinced to go through with the plan. On the night of the assassination, Macbeth sees an imaginary dagger, leading him to Duncan’s chamber; the path to his destiny. He commits the murder and return to his chamber where Lady Macbeth is waiting for him. They both return back to bed to make it appear that they had been sleeping.Macbeth and Lady Macbeth wanted power and to fulfill the prophecy. They were ready to do anything to be on the throne.
Macbeth fails his duty of being a kinsman and protecting the king. Instead, Macbeth kills him. The unexpected consequences are that Macbeth has ruined his relationship with King Duncan who has done nothing but good to Macbeth. Macbeth breaks
Duncan’s trust and deceives him. Lady Macbeth is very determined to be on the throne and to carry out the prophecy. After the murder of King Duncan, she realises that the throne has not resulted in happiness or peace of mind.
Nought’s had, all’s spent, Where our desire is got without content. ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth deteriorates and they become further apart. Lady Macbeth is always questioning Macbeth’s manhood, ‘ to be more than what you were, you would/ be so much more the man’ , and forcing him to make decisions he doesn’t want to make. Therefore, Macbeth doesn’t consult his wife before killing Banquo and Fleance.Lady Macbeth starts to sleep-walk and talk in her sleep for several nights. During her sleepwalking, she reveals the details of the murders for which she and Macbeth have been responsible for. ‘I tell you again, Banquo’s buried.
He cannot come out on his grave. Lady Macbeth wants to undo the death of Duncan; change the past but she knows that she can’t. ‘What’s done cannot be undone’.
She sees blood on her hands, but she cannot remove the imaginary ere blood, ‘out damned spot! Out I say! ’ .She cannot remove the smell of blood ‘here’s the smell of the blood still. All perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand’ Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking shows that she can’t escape her guilty conscience even when she is sleeping. The significance of Lady Macbeth’s hand washing is that she can’t remove the guilty thought of the murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth eventually ends her own life, which is an unanticipated event.
The guilt and sleepwalking are the unanticipated consequences that Lady Macbeth faces after the murder of Duncan.Macbeth also suffers from unanticipated consequences. He always has guilty conscience and he goes mad. He feels remorse after killing Duncan. ‘To know my deed, ‘Thwere best not know myself.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst! Macbeth suffers from sleep deprivation which shows he feels guilty for doing the deed. His lack of sleep had also made him unable to make clear decisions. Macbeth is so determined to become King that he kills everyone who got in his way. Macbeth kills his companion and friend, Banquo, which he didn’t anticipate to do.He also murders Macduff’s family which was more brutal and violent compared to the murder of Duncan.
This shows that Macbeth’s state of mind was a lot worse when he killed Macduff’s family. Macbeth goes insane and he sees Banquo’s ghost at a dinner gathering. Eventually, he realises that killing Duncan didn’t bring him happiness. He feels like he has nothing to look forward to in his future. ‘I have lived long enough. My way of life Is fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf, And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,I must not look to have.
Macbeth is eventually killed by Macduff because he is born of a woman. This is another unanticipated event that occurs. The murder of King Duncan brought unanticipated consequences such
as guilt, sleep deprivation and death. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth showed regrets for committing the deed and the dream of ultimate power; being on the throne, became too big to save them from madness. The murder was an anticipated, calculated action from them, but they didn’t predict the outcome of their horrible life affecting plan.
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