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Essay/Term paper: Macbeth- fear and ambition

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Macbeth

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MacBeth - Analysis of Fear

Fear, this motivates us to do many things no matter if they are right or wrong. In the

Play Macbeth it was fear that was the main motivating factor that influenced the

outcome of the play. This can be proved by the subsequent murders that followed

after Duncan's, why were these committed? Because Macbeth was scared of being

caught and having to pay for the wrongs he had done. Also look at Lady Macbeth,

he constant washing of her hands, sleepwalking and other behavior like this. All

done out of fear, and like her husband fear of being caught. The final piece of proof

I offer is Macbeth's actions, they were all due to fear, not only of being caught but

of the witches' prophecies, he was scared of them coming true and tried to stop

them from happening. This whole play was inspired by fear and what it and do to a


To begin, we'll address Macbeth's subsequent murders, following Duncan's. For

Macbeth, he's just killed the King of Scotland and blamed it on his son. It worked

and he became King, however he remembered the witches' prophecies. They

claimed that Macbeth would be King, but it would be Banquo's children that would

follow after him. This made Macbeth very angry, he risked everything to become

King and after him none of his family will follow.

Only for them; and mine eternal jewel

Given to the common enemy of man,

To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings!

[Act III, S I, L 72-75]

Here Macbeth realizes that if something is not done to Banquo, then his sons will

become King. Macbeth can't have this, he's already worried that his soul will go to

hell for what he's already done. His fear become evident in this scene also, "But to

be safely thus: our fears in Banquo Stick deep;" [Act III, S I, L 53-54] Macbeth

then has Banquo murdered, however his son Fleance escapes in the attack. Next

Macduff refuses to accept Macbeth as king and flees to England to join Malcom.

And also the witches tell him to beware of Macduff, which angers Macbeth and

drives him to kill Macduff's family. More fear of losing the impending battle with

England, makes Macbeth start doing anything that will give him an edge in the final

battle. Macbeth's fear is starting to consume him, he can no longer sleep and is

ravaged by guilt over what he's done.

As well Lady Macbeth is being comsumed by fear and guilt, she is slowing losing

her sanity. This is a result of her not being able to handle what she has done to

Duncan. As shown in this quote

Out, damned spot!out,I say!One;Two:why, then 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie,

my lord, fie! a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can

call our power to account? [Act V, S I, L 32-35]

Here Lady Macbeth is trying to wash out what she sees as being blood on her

hands. As well she mentions hell an obvious fear of going there for what she has

done. At the start Lady Macbeth was the one pushing on Macbeth to kill Duncan

but as the play goes on she becomes weaker as Macbeth becomes stronger,

Macbeth isn't troubled by what he has done to the extent Lady Macbeth is. Her role

in the play slowly becomes smaller and smaller as she ends up being driven mad by

the guilt and soon can no longer take, and ends up taking her own life hoping that

her torment will end now that she is dead. "The Queen, my Lord is dead" [Act V, S

5, L 18], Lady Macbeth takes her life right before the battle against the english is

about to begin. This taking of her own life demonstrates her fear and in the end what

that fear can do to a person.

Now we come to the witches prophecies, these are a main source of fear for

Macbeth, after all where has he learned everything from. With each new vision,

Macbeth falls deeper and deeper into an evil spiral. From the witches first prediction

of Macbeth being king, which made Macbeth kill to become king. As well as

Banquo's children becoming kings, this scared Macbeth as I previously mentioned.

Also when he went back to see the witches he gained some more knowledge,

"Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; Beware the thane of Fife." [Act

IV, S I, L 77], well now that Macbeth has heard this, he believes that he must kill

Macduff, however he learns that Macduff has fled to England, so Macbeth desides

to kill his family. Next in the cave Macbeth is told he can't be killed by any man

born of woman, well this gives him confidence that no matter what the English will

not defeat him. And he is also told that he will not be defeated until the trees of

Birnam Wood move towards his castle. He has put all his faith in these prophecies,

what the witches say must be true because of the first prediction.

In conclusion you can see what fear can do to a person, it made Macbeth mad for

power which he ended up getting. But after the first of his crimes the rest became

easier for him, pretty soon he'd just order it and not think twice. That was not the

case when he first murdered Duncan. All though the play his fear of being caught,

and the witches prophecies coming true make him do all these evil deeds. Fear had

become the main movating factor in the play. Hopefully you have a better

understanding of the play from all this.


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