Macbeth 's State Of Mind

1464 WordsMar 27, 20176 Pages
Throughout Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth, the motif of time plays a significant role as Macbeth’s state of mind progresses throughout the play. Time serves as a vital role in a tragedy, for as time progresses, a character’s inevitable and ill-fated end draws closer and closer. In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth becomes completely consumed by time as he is fixated on an illusory future and becomes haunted by his inescapable, bloodstained past. Essentially, throughout the play, Macbeth continually fights for his royal future, yet realizes too late that, due to the unavoidable passing of time and mortality of life, his position as King of Scotland will be transient and momentary. Nevertheless, throughout the course of the play, Macbeth’s state…show more content…
Yet, he also recognizes that if he were to disturb the natural time and progression of events in this “bank and shoal of time” (I.vii.6), he would be jeopardizing his future, for he would “still have judgment here” (I.vii.8). As Macbeth ponders whether or not to kill his king in order to try to become king himself, his main hesitations arise from the fact that, if he does kill Duncan, he will be consumed by guilt and will suffer judgment and consequences in both this world and in the afterlife. Paralleling Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech, Macbeth’s uncertainty about the afterlife and what will arise from his mortal actions cause him to desire to “proceed no further in this business” (31). Thus, Macbeth’s attention on the afterlife reveals his state of mind relative to time at this point in the play as he focuses on the future while debating whether to essentially overleap time and make himself King of Scotland, or wait and see if the witches’ prophecy will come true. However, in regards to the prophecies, the witches never mention when anything will take place. Thus, Macbeth is left with an internal struggle as he ponders whether to let nature run its course and hopefully become king naturally, or whether to disturb the normal order of the world and overrun the natural progression of time to ensure his crowning. Although Macbeth concludes at the end of

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