Guilt Theme in Shakespeare

785 WordsNov 5, 20124 Pages
Guilt is something that every human being faces in the world in which we live in. Guilt has been around since the beginning of time and is something that most of us feel from one time or another in our lives. If you are not careful and don’t deal with the problem it can literally eat you alive. William Shakespeare uses the theme of guilt in two of his most famous plays, Macbeth and Hamlet. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth starts to regret her decision in supporting Macbeth in murdering Duncan. In Hamlet, Claudius carries around the guilt of killing King Hamlet and doesn’t find it a problem until he realizes Hamlet knows what he did. Both circumstances in each play support a famous quote by Lady Macbeth about the truth of guilt. In the play…show more content…
I feel that after anyone commits a crime, no matter the circumstances, guilt will eventually take over someone’s conscience and end up destroying one’s life if they do not confess or try to fix the situation. In the end, the person most always feels so guilty that they would rather be the person who was affected by the deed than the one who did it so that they wouldn’t feel so accountable. This theme is also supported in William Shakespeare’s classic play, Hamlet. Claudius also murders the King in hopes to take over the throne. In order to get Claudius to prove he was responsible, Hamlet devises a plan to prove the guilt of his uncle by re-enacting the murder of his father right in front of him. Based on his reaction, Hamlet will be able to determine whether or not Claudius is truly guilty. As predicted, Claudius storms out of the play and quickly devises a plan to kill Hamlet so that nobody finds out about what he has done. “When Polonius leaves, the king is alone, and he immediately expresses his guilt and grief over his sin. A brother’s murder, he says, is the oldest sin and “hath the primal eldest curse upon’t” (3.3.37). He longs to ask for forgiveness, but says that he is unprepared to give up that which he gained by committing the murder, namely, the crown and the queen. He falls to his knees and begins to pray.” Since he prays and is clearly
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