Q: Analise how a key event in the text positioned you to feel strongly about a character
The descent into insanity is a slippery slope. Macbeth didn’t fully believe in what he was doing; deep down, he regretted killing Banquo. This essay will prove that Macbeth truly regretted what he had done and that deep down, he is that kind noble thane that he is made out to be at the beginning of the play. I will prove this by looking at the effects of power, greed, and guilt.
The effects of power played a great role in the downfall of Macbeth’s sanity. We see this in the banquet scene where Macbeth is seated in a higher position at the table leaving his old seat empty, just to be taken up by the ghost of Banquo. Just before the banquet scene, Macbeth says, “O, full of scorpions is my mind.” Here, Shakespeare uses metaphors to say his mind is a scorpion. This highlights that he is truly conflicted. He compares the thoughts in his head to scorpions, proving he knows these thoughts are wrong and evil. This quote foreshadows the banquet scene where he starts to show the signs of his insanity brought on by ferocious guilt.
Of all things, his greed ultimately is the cause of Macbeth’s downfall. Macbeth’s fatal flaw is greed. In the banquet scene, we see his greed leads him to a higher position on the table, in the seat of the king. Everything that goes wrong for Macbeth goes wrong due to his greed. This leads us to wonder, who is Macbeth if not so greedy? Lady Macbeth has legitimate fears that Macbeth is too good at heart to murder the king. “Yet I do fear thy nature. It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” This leads me to believe that Macbeth’s evil nature is just a shell around the real Macbeth who truly cares.
Macbeth’s guilt is readily apparent in the banquet scene. Even though he is clearly the antagonist of the play, Shakespeare still sets up the audience to feel sorry for this guilt-ridden man who has just lost his best friend. After seeing Banquo’s ghost Macbeth says, “…that dare look on that which might appal the devil.” Here Shakespeare uses hyperbole to express how greatly Macbeth feels about the ghost of Banquo. His guilt is true and sincere.
Macbeth is a polarising character. His actions lead him to be a horrific figure, but his intent and reaction to himself shows us that he must not be defined completely by his actions. The banquet scene positioned me to feel strongly that Macbeth isn’t pure evil. He shows true remorse and guilt all caused by his greed and lust for power.