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Defending Maceth

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Introduction

Defending Macbeth Innocence is a quality that few people take to their grave, although all are born with it. At some point in one's life, an event or circumstance removes that shield from both moral and legal guilt, whether in one's own eyes or in the eyes of other. A person sees an "action movie" and decides, by his own free will, to create some "action," leading to the lack of "action" of another, and the legal "action" of the victim's family. In such a case, innocence is cast off. Or, innocence can be stolen. A person is taught to "think" a different way, and in this state, commits acts, perhaps illegal, perhaps immoral, perhaps both, that he would not have before being "brainwashed." Macbeth is one such person. As a loyal servant to his king, Macbeth had no guilt when it came to expelling his enemies from Scotland, nor should he: in the context of the play, the men felled by "Bellona's bridegroom" were traitors and invaders, all worthy of death in the eyes of Shakespeare's Elizabethan audience. Macbeth is the "worthy gentleman" ridding the country of the "villanies of nature", "merciless... rebel[s]" and liberating towns from the Norwegian yoke. ...read more.

Middle

He trusts her, yet another quality of innocence, and this trust contributes to his downfall. It is Lady Macbeth who, in this scene, makes the first concrete threat upon Duncan's life: "O never Shall sun that morrow see!" (i.5, 59-60). In this scene the contrast between Macbeth's attitude towards his becoming King and Lady Macbeth's enthusiasm towards the complete fulfillment of the prophesies is apparent. Not only does she display the expected joy in regards to the announcement, she begins planning the murder of the King, a concept that Macbeth had already conjured up, and rejected out of fear: "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man" (i.3,139-140). Lady Macbeth's intentions are clear: she intends to play a part, a major part in the murder of Duncan. She acknowledges the good nature of Macbeth, and fears that such a personality will interfere in his ascension. She pleads to the evil spirits to "fill [her] from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty" (i.5,39-40). Macbeth returns to his castle to find this woman advising him how to cover up his "intentions," to play the role of the loyal servant before he commits ...read more.

Conclusion

"Once a liar, always a liar" or so the saying goes, and in this situation the case is no different. Macbeth, faced with a criminal investigation, two bloody daggers and a not-so-clear conscience, must quickly make up a lie to explain away the murder of the guards, an action hastily done in the aftermath of the main event. And from there his respect and sanity spirals down and down and down until he is "Stepp'd in so far [in blood], that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious a go o'er" (iii.4,137-138). Macbeth is an example of a man from whom innocence was stolen. He was a courageous warrior, a loyal officer in the Royal military, a respected leader, and, in general, a good guy. External forces, the witches and their uninvited "supernatural soliciting," his wife and her uncontrollable passion and controlling enthusiasm over the case at hand, and Evil itself, transformed this potential, nay, existing hero into a tyrant hated by his people. Brainwashed and dominated by Evil, he responded in the only way he could: with Evil. And so falls this man, a man of integrity, a man of innocence ...read more.

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