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Macbeth Conflicts

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The Conflicts in Macbeth

In literature, a struggle between two opposing forces is called a conflict. Conflicts in literature move the plot along and keep the audience interested. Conflict is used by Shakespeare in almost all of his plays. He uses multiple conflicts leading to the major conflict in his plays. Conflict is introduced in the rising action, faced head on in the climax, starts to work itself out in the falling action and then is resolved in the resolution. In William Shakespeare 's play, Macbeth, the various types of conflicts impact the plot internally, externally and through the supernatural, proving this play is a tragedy.

Many external conflicts occur throughout the play with various characters. The first conflict is with
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The Old man and Ross discuss all the unnatural things that occur such as, a falcon killing a hawk. A hawk is a bird even more powerful than the falcon. The Chain is also disrupted when Lady Macbeth excuses the guests at the banquet and says, "Stand not upon the order of your going,/ But go at once" (III, iv, 119-120). Instead of the guests leaving in the order of the Chain of Being, they were excused to all leave at once. The nature of the Elizabethans is disrupted causing conflict.

The internal conflict that occurs is within characters. Lady Macbeth is driven to insanity dealing with her conscience. First she wishes to get rid of her woman hood so that she can commit the crime without feeling guilty, "come, you spirits/ That tend on moral thoughts! Unsex me here,/ And fill me from the crown to the toe top full/ Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,/ Stop up the access and passage to remorse" (I, v, 39-43). She brings out the evil inside her. After the crimes are committed, she becomes afraid of the dark and she hallucinates a spot of blood on her. This is ironic, because when Macbeth is scared of blood on his hands, she says it comes off with water. The quilt drives her insane. The Gentlewoman gets a Doctor to aid Lady Macbeth and the Doctor says, "This disease is beyond my practice" (V, I, 56). She goes insane and eventually kills herself because of her guilt.

Macbeth also has a conflict within himself, led by his ambition. At the beginning he battles his
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