Greed And Fear Essay, Research Paper
In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, greed for power and wealth results in not only the destruction of oneself, but in the others connected to that someone. Greed controls the lives of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after the prophecy of the three weird sisters. As a result of the destruction, both show signs of fear, though Macbeth s fear is more visible than Lady Macbeth s. Fear motivates most people to act upon matters whether the cause is right or wrong. Having read the play previously, fear is another main motivating factor that influenced the outcome. Through explanation of the text, asides, dialogues, imagery , and soliloquies, both greed and fear will reveal itself in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Towards the beginning of the play, Macbeth was kind, gentle, and loyal to King Duncan. He killed MacDonwald in battle and consequently is made Thane of Cawdor in place of the traitor. However, before he becomes Thane of Cawdor he encounters the three weird sisters and they prophesize that he not only will become Thane of Cawdor, but also eventually king. They also prophesized that Banquo s heirs would become kings following Macbeth. After the first part of the prophecy came true, Macbeth thought it was just a coincidence, but he began to show signs of greed for power. Macbeth says in an aside, Two truths are told, as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme (I.iii.127-129).
Macbeth became overwhelmingly greedy and power-hungry when Lady Macbeth began to manipulate his thoughts on the prophecy saying he must help for the final outcome that he become king. To everyone s surprise, the delicate and gentle Lady Macbeth merely desires power of her own, but because she is a woman, she can have no such power. Therefore, she must do everything that is humanly possible to obtain that power for Macbeth. Lady Macbeth must manipulate Macbeth s thoughts and make him feel belittled so that he will do what she wants. Macbeth says, We will proceed no further in this business (I.vii.31). Lady Macbeth then says, Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem (I.vii.36-43). Macbeth replies, Prithee, peace: I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none. (I.vii.45-46).
Following the murder, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are jumpy and are startled by every little sound. In a dialogue, Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth, I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? (LM) I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry. Did you not speak? (M) When? (LM) Now. (M) As I descended? (LM) Ay. (II.ii.14-20)
After committing the murder, Macbeth is haunted by images of daggers with blood smeared on it. This image represents not only his fear for being caught for his crime, but it also represents a kind of remorse. Macbeth says, Is this the dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still A dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain My eyes could be fooling me And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood (II.i.33-46)
Lady Macbeth in the first few acts shows little fear, but her character gives off a kind of fear that shakes the very essence of one s soul. She has a soliloquy in which she asks the spirits to unsex her so that she may have the strength to do something that it be thought that only a man can do. She says, The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements. Come you spirits unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty Stop up th access and passage to remorse Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark (I.v.36-51).
As a result of the greed for power and the destruction that comes with it, fear, I feel will lead to the ultimate downfall of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth because they may accidentally reveal themselves. In today s society, one couple (that makes many appearances in my essays) has many parallels to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Billy, Nomica, and Billy s wife. Because of Billy s mattress tag stealing fiasco, he ended up with his head in a box in the far off lands of Olneyville. Macbeth s greed and then fear eventually lead to his death and his head on a pole in Scotland not too unlike Olneyville. All hail Macbeth! that shall be king (I.iii.50)