Macbeths Sympathetic Tyranny Essay, Research Paper
Macbeth is a good man who is troubled by his conscience and loyalty though simultaneously ambitious and murderous. He is led to evil initially by the witches’ predictions and then by his wife’s encouraging, which he succumbs to because he loves her so. His obsession over the kingship shows a certain kind of egotism. Macbeth is caught up in the predictions of the witches and becomes himself a tyrant of the lands, though he is responsible for the actions he has made by his own hands. After the murder of Duncan, the natural good in him compels the acknowledgment that, in committing the murderous act, he has corrupted his mind and has placed his soul into the possession of those evil forces that are the enemy of humanity. He recognizes that the acts of conscience which torture him are really expressions of that outraged natural law, which inevitably reduced him as individual to be essentially human. This is the inescapable bond that keeps him pale, and this is the law of his own natural from whose exactions of devastating penalties he seeks release: “Come, seeling night… And with thy bloody and invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond Which keeps me pale.”1However, he gains no satisfying peace because his conscience still obliges him to recognize the negative quality of evil and the ineffective results of wicked action. The individual who once prized mutable goods in respect and admiration from those about him, now discovers that even evanescent satisfactions are denied him: “And that which should accompany old age, As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.”(A.5 Sc.3, 24-27)Macbeth is conscious of a profound impression of something far more precious than earthly goods. His being has shrunk to such little measure that he has lost his former sense of good and evil; he has consumed so much horrors and the disposition of evil is so fixed in him that nothing can start him. His conscience is desensitized so that he escapes the domination of fears, such a culmination may be called a sort of peace, however it is not entirely what expected or desired. Macbeth longs for peace and calmness, the peace that he attains is a callousness to pain and spiritually a partial insensibility to the evidences of his diminished being. His peace is the doubtful calm of utter negativity, where nothing matters. After the death of Duncan, Macbeth confides in Lady Macbeth in two verses: “But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” stuck in my throat.”(A.2 Sc.2, 34-36)
“Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep,” the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast-”(A.2 Sc.2, 39-44)Macbeth will not sleep any more. In this scene, he shows great turmoil over the deed he has done. Thus Shakespeare shows the reader that Macbeth is acting out deeds that go against his conscience, and he regrets his actions, and that the prophecies are unfolding. These verses show his apology for Duncan’s murder, that the witches’ predictions forced his hand, where the reader feels pity for him, for he had no choice for the murder. His contrition seems to fade as his want of power flourishes. Macbeth, is a story of a man whose ambitions have brought him to commit treason and murder. Visions of power grew within his head until his thirst for power causes him to lose that very source of his ambition to the blade of Macduff’s sword. Macbeth allows his ambition to get ahead of him and this forces him to do the barbaric acts that he did. Though Macbeth does realize that the witches have played him for a fool, and he knows he cannot win the battle because of the prophesy yet he continues to fight until the end: “I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcom’s feet and to be baited with the rabbles curse. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, and thou opposed, being no woman born, yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw like warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”(A.5 Sc.8, 27-34)Macbeth, by not allowing what the witches had said to lead him into other courses of action, he experiences a reversal. Macbeth rose to power through his own hand where in fact he had stated he would not test the hands of fate and he would let nature take its course. He thought himself invincible and became over ambitious therefore leading to his own destruction. After hearing the predictions from the witches lured him to the suggestion of power and he becomes a tyrant but creates the illusion that he is a sympathetic person. Through his words and reasoning, Macbeth enables himself to escape harassment for the mischievous deeds he had done and the cruelty he has put over the kingdom.