Macbeth Murder Essay
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Guilt is one of the hardest emotions to control. It implants itself in one’s mind and is almost impossible to get rid of.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart demonstrate how murder can lead to unexpected guilt. The main characters from both pieces commit murder and feel guilt for killing their victims, and also feel nervous about getting caught so much that they spell their own doom. Guilt is a very hard feeling to get rid of. Both Macbeth and The Tell-Tale Heart demonstrate how people live with guilt.
After Macbeth murders Duncan, he feels like he made a big mistake. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red. ” (II, ii,ll 60-63) This quote reveals how Macbeth feels guilt about killing Duncan. He feels as if he will never get the blood, which is his guilt, off of his hands.
Macbeth utters this quote out of sheer remorse for murdering Duncan because he believes that he was a good king and did not deserve to die.
In addition, Macbeth feels like the dried blood stained on his hands is similar to the guilt fallen on him by Duncan’s murder, it is very difficult to get rid of, and will leave its mark if he tries to find someone to talk about it with to relieve his remorse. He must bottle up his guilt and only speak of it with Lady Macbeth who shows him no sympathy. In addition to feeling guilt, Macbeth is so nervous after he commits murder, that he ultimately spells his own doom by giving himself away. “O, yet I do repent me of my fury, that I did kill them. ” (II, iii,ll116-117).
Once it is found that Duncan is murdered, Macbeth says that he killed his guards because he was so angry with them. What really happened was Lady Macbeth killed them after Macbeth killed Duncan so that the evidence could not be traced back to Macbeth. Macbeth gives himself away by saying that he killed the guards, as there was no time to do it because he had just found out about Duncan’s death. This eventually leads to Macbeth being caught by Macduff who realized Macbeth’s mistake through the panic of the moment. The Tell-Tale Heart’s story is very close to that of Macbeth’s.
The narrator also feels guilt after killing an old man because of his hatred of the old man’s “evil eye”. “Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! And now—hark! Louder! Louder! Louder! Louder! ”(Poe, 4). The narrator kills the old man and when the police come to interrogate him, he plays it off nicely and invites them in to talk. Eventually, the narrator’s guilt gets to him and he begins to hear the floorboards knocking, mimicking the beat of a heart.
The narrator’s guilt comes back to him in the form of knocking floor boards, because he buried the man under those very same floorboards in his own house. He cannot get over the fact that he murdered the old man and hears knocking because of his grief and remorse. In brief, the knocking gets louder and louder as an expression of his grief that is growing stronger and stronger as he talks to the police. Moreover, the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart, after assuring that he will get off scot-free, gives himself away due to how nervous he is. “’Villains! ’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more!
I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! Here, here! – It is the beating of his hideous heart! ” (Poe, 4). In this quotation, the narrator cracks under the pressure of being with the two police men so close to the old man’s body and gives himself away. The narrator is nervous that he will be caught, but plays the murder off well until finally his nerves cause him to hear the old man’s heart beating, and everything comes falling down from this point. The narrator feels so nervous that he finally shouts out where he hid the old man’s body and tears up the planks to reveal his body.
If it were not for the narrators nervousness he would have got off scot-free, just as Macbeth could have as well. All in all, Both Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart demonstrate how guilt is inevitable after murder and is very difficult to deal with. In addition, both pieces demonstrate how nervousness can cause individuals to crack and give themselves up. Unfortunately, guilt and nervousness are what caused both these characters plans to crumble to dust.