Motif Of Guilt In Macbeth

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The definition of the word regret is “a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done”. In the play Macbeth, the playwright William Shakespeare continuously repeats the motif of guilt and regret for the purpose of further developing two of the main characters: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. From almost the beginning of the story the audience is introduced to the motif of guilt when Macbeth is manipulated by his wife to kill the King. Shakespeare introduces this motif in order to further develop the character Macbeth. Before Macbeth kills him he asks himself “Is this a dagger which I see before me” (II,i,44). This shows that Macbeth knew that killing Duncan was wrong but he killed him anyway due to his wife’s manipulation. Macbeth hears voices saying that he won’t ever sleep again due to the guilt that he feels “Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!/ Macbeth does murder sleep”(II.ii. 47-48). After Macbeth kills Duncan he is so regretful that he doesn't think that there is enough water in the ocean to get the blood off of his hands “will all great Neptune’s oceans wash this blood/Clean from my hand” (II,ii,78-79). Macbeth is so full of regret from killing Duncan that he can not even think about what he has done. Throughout the play Macbeth’s extreme guilt begins to fade as he gains more power and begins to become a tyrant. After Duncan is killed at Lady Macbeth’s hand she seems to not feel any regret. After Duncan is killed and Macbeth has a guilty conscience she tells him not to think about what he did because it will drive him crazy, “These deeds must not be thought/After these ways;so, it will make us mad”(II.ii.45-46). Lady Macbeth says the opposite of what Macbeth says about there not being enough water to get rid of his guilt, “A little water clears us of this deed”(II.ii.86). After after playing a part in the death of King Duncan Lady Macbeth seems to feel no regret “My hands are of your color, but I shame/ To wear a heart so white”(II.ii.82-83). She is saying that she did the same amount of work in murdering Duncan but she feels no regret. Lady Macbeth gradually feels more regret as time goes on after the murder. As the play goes on Macbeth and

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