Textual Interpretation/Macbeth


Macbeth expresses doubts and uncertainties through the language which he uses in the


moments immediately surroundings of the regicide. Macbeth has doubts of guilt as soon


as he hears the news from the wïerd sisters “My thought, whose murder yet is but





fantastical,/ Shakes so my single state of man that function/ Is smother’d in surmise, and





nothing is,/ But what is not”(Act I scene III, 138-139). In this quote Macbeth’s thoughts


is quite irregular which already explain his uncertainties but also Macbeth states that he is


very distressed about the thought of killing Duncan but he cannot help but think about it,


Macbeth understands that this would be a great step for him but to reach it he would need


to commit a horrid act which makes him feel great guilt. Macbeth also feels guilt because


he has always loved the king and knows that Duncan has never done anything but good


for him and this act would be extremely selfish as Duncan was a good king that everyone


loved and would have pathos for. It is not as if he was a bad king that Macbeth may have


been thanked for killing. Macbeth’s language expresses his guilt when he converses with


Lady Macbeth “We will proceed no further in this business. / He hath honoured me of





late,/” (Act I scene VII, 32-33). Here Macbeth realizes, even more, that what he is


planning on doing is wrong and tries to make his wife agree with him and call off the


plans. Macbeth’s doubts of guilt are also shown just after he performs the regicide when


he states “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/ Clean from my hand?”(Act II





scene II, 63-64). In this quote blood imagery is used to symbolize guilt of Macbeth.


Macbeth feels so much guilt that he does not believe that anything could make him feel


normal again. Macbeth’s guilt he feels extremely bad about what he had done and wishes


that he could take it back which is shown when he says “ Wake Duncan with thy





knocking: I would thou/ couldst.”(Act II scene II, 78-79). Here Macbeth is already


wishing that the king could wake up although he knows that he will not showing how he


has pathos for Duncan and he feels bad for the deed.


Macbeth also has doubts of the consequences that he will be forced to encounter if he


performs the regicide. Macbeth understands that by disrupting the chain of being


something will happen “If th’assassination/ Could trammel up the consequence and





catch/ With his surcease, success, that but this blow/ Might be the be-all and end-all—





here,/ But here upon the bank and shoal of time,/ We’d jump the life to come. But in





these cases,/ We still have judgement here that we but teach/ Bloody instructions, which





being taught, return/ To plague the th’inventor. This even-handed justice/ Commends





th’ingredients of our poisoned chalice/ To our own lips.”(Act I scene VII, 2-12). This is


the one quote that I believe is most important to show just how Macbeth uses language to


show his worries of consequences. In this quote Macbeth basically explains how he


would easily kill the king if there were no consequences but he realizes that th’inventor


also known as god would judge him and make him suffer in some way so he worries


about what will happen to him. Another incident where Macbeth has doubts of


consequences is after the regicide when he tells Lady Macbeth “I could not say ‘Amen’/





When they did say ‘God bless us.’”(Act II scene II, 31-32). This basically shows his


immediate loss of connection with god as soon as he killed Duncan. Macbeth feels that he


cannot say the word ‘Amen’ because of the horrible thing he has don’t to break the chain


of being which sows chaos to come. Finally doubts of consequences are shown when


Macbeth begins hearing things “Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more: /





Macbeth does murder sleep’” (Act II scene II, 38-39). This quote explains already


following the regicide that nemesis is being foreshadowed as Macbeth says that he heard


voices saying he had murdered sleep meaning he would not sleep as he had murdered