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Thesis Page


We realize that having the power to make conscience descions results in a responsibility for our descions. Their responsibility may manifest as guilt or happiness.










































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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth\'s Consciousness

Humans have free will, and this free will give us the right to choose between good and evil. In the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, Macbeth and his wife plot the murder of King Duncan, so that they can become rulers over Scotland. We realize that having the power to make conscience descions results in a responsibility for our descions. These responsibilities may manifest as guilt or happiness.
Macbeth is at first a man with a clear conscience until he is corrupted by his wife. Lady Macbeth is hungry for power so she presses Macbeth to kill Duncan as quickly as possible. The visions Macbeth sees before entering Duncan\'s chamber dwell entirely on the circumstances of horror and fear. Macbeth knows concisously that killing Duncan is wrong. Yet he also knows that to be king he has to kill Duncan. After the murders we realize that Macbeth has guilt, and pity for the murder that he just committed because he replies to Lady Macbeth "To know my deed, \'twere best not know myself."(II.ii.72)
Macbeths\' tragedy can be paralleled to those tragedies of the present day. Just as Macbeth goes from fear, to guilt, and to finally his conscience destroying him. It also holds true for the murderer Susan Smith. Both murderers know conscientiously that the murders that they commit are wrong, they both feel guilt, and there both destroyed by the descions that they made.
Macbeths\' conscience has the power to destroy his conscience

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when he commits the murder. As Joseph suggests "When the murder of Duncan is committed from an immediate Consciousness of the Fact, his Ambition is ingulph\'d at that Instant, by the Horror of the Deed..."(42). Macbeth\'s disordered senses deceive him and his debilitated spirits fail him. He listens when nothing stirs and he mistakes the sounds he does hear. He is so confused, and can not distinguish when the knocking proceeds.

"Whence is that knocking?
How is\'t with me when every noise
appalls me?
What hands are here?
Ha!
They pluck out mine eyes!
Will all great Neptune\'s ocean
wash this blood
Clean from my hand...?(II.ii.56-60)

After he commits the terrible deed, he shows Lady Macbeth his hands covered with blood. Lady Macbeth fears nothing at this point. She is eager that the deed Macbeth committed is fulfilled. She feels that the blood on Macbeth\'s hands can be cleared by the purity of water. ". ..a little water clears us of this deed..."(II.ii.64). Lady Macbeth comforts Macbeth. Her planning and plotting work accordingly as she assumed it would. She tells Macbeth that soon they will be the King and Queen of Scotland.
Macbeths\' evil conscience takes over him in such a great extent that he plans for the murder of Banquo, Fleance, and Macduffs\' family. Even thought these murders are not committed

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by the hands of Macbeth. They are committed at the hands of Macbeth. Macbeth hires two murderers to commit these acts of violence. After the murder of Banquo and Macduff\'s family Macbeth then returns to the three weird sisters. These three witches give him three new prophecies. 1.) "... Beware Macduff(IV.i.71)! 2.) "... the pow\'r of man for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"(IV.i.81-82). 3.) ...Macbeth shall never vanquished until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall comes against him"(IV.i.92-94). Bradley asserts that
"While the influences of the witches\'
prophecies on Macbeth if very great, it is
quite clearly shown to be an influence and nothing
more.(172)

What leads in the downfall of the hero is really his half conscience guilt, of the three withces. Macbeth listens to the prophecies, thinking nothing will happen to him or his wife. He feels that he will remain safely the King of Scotland, but he must murder to retain power and the Thanes do not remain loyal, nor can his own wife live with things as they are.
Lady Macbeth becomes mad and crazy. She fantasizes in her sleep of having blood on her hands. This derived from her earlier certainty that she and her husband needed no more than a little water to clear them of this deed. As Joseph said "She had found that they have been involved in ever-increasing murder, 4

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accompanied by hatred