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Essay/Term paper: Macbeth - analysis of fear

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Shakespeare

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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 behaviour 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 person. 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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