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Analysis of Macbeth's Inner Turmoil over Killing King Duncan - The Ramifications of Vaulting Ambition

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Introduction

´╗┐Shakespeare?s Macbeth ? Term 3 Assignment 1 1. With close reference to the passage, discuss Macbeth?s inner turmoil over the assassination of King Duncan. Be sure to support your points with a close analysis of the imagery used to illustrate Macbeth?s fears and uncertainties over the consequences of his actions. Act One Scene 7 is perhaps one of the most important scenes in all of Macbeth, highlighting the uncertainties and inner turmoil of Macbeth before he commits the execrable deed of regicide. The passage, an extract from Scene 7, apparently accentuates Macbeth?s unwillingness to partake in the murder of Duncan, but it also reflects Macbeth?s thirst for power, as he entertains the idea of a consequence-free action and the entailing benefits of which. Macbeth?s vacillation and doubts further reaffirm the central thematic message that the desire for power inevitably corrupts the human soul, stripping it bare of conscience and guilt, rendering man lesser than beasts. When the scene begins, Macbeth contemplates whether or not he can perform the dreadful deed of killing King Duncan. In an attempt to build up the necessary courage to fulfill his ?vaulting ambition?, he recognises that overcoming his conscience is necessary in empowering himself to kill King Duncan. Although Macbeth finally concludes that the treachery of murdering King Duncan is absolutely unacceptable and would only result in retribution in equal measure, Macbeth still titillated himself with the possibility of having ...read more.

Middle

Words such as ?angels?, ?damnation? and ?heaven?s cherubin? solidify the basic idea that murdering Duncan would invoke the heaven?s wrath and retribution would befall on Macbeth for his treachery and betrayal, especially since King Duncan ?Hathe borne his faculties so meek, hath been/ So clear in his great office?. Furthermore, the Elizabethan era saw the rise in popularity in the doctrine of the Divine Order, or the Great Chain of Being, and as such, the usurpation of King Duncan?s throne by a subject would defy the hierarchy, thereby resulting in disorder and chaos, an ominous foretelling of Macbeth?s tyrannical rule. In conclusion, Macbeth?s lengthy soliloquy has manifested his fear of eternal damnation as well as his fear of having fallen victim to a similar fate as Duncan ? murdered by a subject. His moral dilemma over whether or not to murder a king so gracious and compassionate highlights his humanity and righteousness as he finally reaches the conclusion that the plot ?will proceed no further?. However, this sense of righteousness and reason would soon be corrupted by Lady Macbeth, who taunts him into murdering King Duncan subsequently. His susceptibility to the corruption of his ?vaulting ambition? has also been manifested in his brief fantasy of ascending to the throne without having to suffer for his treasonous act. ...read more.

Conclusion

The progressive depravation and moral decadence of Macbeth grows increasingly conspicuous throughout the play as Macbeth becomes wearier and more paranoid. This is further reinforced in his own profession that he is ?in blood/ Stepp?d in so far that, should (he) wade no more,/ Returning were as tedious as go o?er?. By comparing his nefarious actions to wading through a bloody river, Macbeth suggests that once a man commits a murderous act for his own gain, it?s impossible to stop, and turning back is described to be ?as tedious as go o?er?. By this scene, Macbeth is fully willing to do anything to save himself from the relentless psychological trauma he endures and to legitimise and protect his tyrannical dictatorship. In conclusion, the corrupting power of unrestrained ambition and lust for control has sent Scotland crumbling to her knees. Although the Weird Sisters have prophesised that Macbeth would eventually become the King of Scotland, they do not wield supernatural control over the fate of Macbeth, and ultimately, Macbeth has the choice to do what he deems fit. However, the influence of ambition as implanted by the witches indubitably contributed to his burgeoning appetite for more power, obscuring him from judging the situation objectively and rationally and staying within the necessary confines and limitations of his existence as justified in the Great Chain of Being. ...read more.

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