The characters in Macbeth feel a great deal of guilt, which eventually leads to madness. Neither of these would occur if it werent for their murderous actions towards both friend and foe. Without guilt there can be no madness. This essay will cover the guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, how one murder can mark the beginning of their decent into guilt, paranoia, psychological disturbance and tyranny.
Guilt first comes into play at Macbeth's first thought of killing Duncan. He has considered the murder as a good scheme to land him a place on the throne, but as he thinks about it the more he comes to realise the guilt that he would feel. As he sleeps, he dreams of a blood-stained dragger, and his own hand reaching out to grasp it. He sees it as a symbol of his potential murderous transgression, as he moves to kill Duncan. Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? .Art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation .
When Macbeth notifies Lady Macbeth that he does not see fit that he should Murder the king and he would precede no further in this business, she questions his manliness. Art thou afeard . When you durst do it, then you where a man. She asks him; That made you break this enterprise to me? why did he break the news to her if he wasnt going to act on it? Lady Macbeth then explains a scheme that could get Duncan murdered and not get them caught. Macbeth is convinced by this, and with all his doubts laid to rest, he proceeded with the plan, now eager to place himself on the throne.
After the king was murdered, his sons fled to England and Ireland, this made Macbeth heir to the throne, and so he became king. As this is what he wanted, he was perplexed to find that as he took his position on the throne, guilt started to slither back into his system. Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren sceptre in my gripe, thence to be wrenchd with an unlineal hand Greed had conquered him; he killed to get that which he wished for.