Essay, Research Paper: Macbeth Guilt

Shakespeare: Macbeth

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This was an oral presentation, in which I prosecuted Macbeth. I received a grade
of A-, however was told that it was my actual presentation rather than my essay
that stopped me getting a higher grade :) Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be brief.
You have heard the testimonies and seen the evidence; it is now time for the
fate of Macbeth to be decided. Today you have met scores of witnesses testify,
under oath, the defendant’s entirely good and honest character, and have
pondered as to how the King of Scotland could commit such atrocities. However,
unmistakable evidence opposes such testimonies and proves beyond reasonable
doubt that the defendant Macbeth killed his King, Duncan the II of Scotland, his
life-long friend Banquo and Lady Macduff and her children. Over the last six
months we have seen Macbeth degrade from a fearless and heroic warrior to a
murderer, a conscious villain who felt extreme guilt after killing his King out
of pure greed and ambition. His servant, as testified, overheard Macbeth express
his guilt to his wife on the night of the murder: “I am afraid to think what I
have done; Look on ‘t again I dare not.” Following his crowning at Scone,
King Macbeth hired three assassins to murder his long-time friend Banquo, in
order to protect his crown. It was after the murder of Banquo that Macbeth then
turned into an unmerciful, non-repentant tyrant. This man, once heralded a hero,
became the bane of Scotland and his people. The defense has tried to manipulate
facts to persuade you that Macbeth is not to blame for these murders and has
placed responsibility for these deaths on everyone from Lady Macbeth to the
witches, who occasionally conversed with the accused. You have heard testimonies
of the three witches, who told us of their encounters with Macbeth. What sort of
man would associate with such evil beings, and most of all, believe the nonsense
they foresee? The witches did not directly influence Macbeth to assassinate his
King, they only speculated as to what the future may hold and these predictions
ignited his overwhelming ambition to become King. These associations with the
witches bring serious doubts to the goodness of the defendant’s character.
Speculations that Lady Macbeth is responsible for Duncan’s murder have been
made by the defense. But blood found on this cloak hidden in Macbeth’s
quarters proves without doubt that it was Macbeth who actually committed the
murder. He is ultimately to blame. The accusations made by Macbeth’s lawyers
that Lady Macbeth pressured her husband to assassinate Duncan are irrelevant. It
is unthinkable that such a brave and valiant soldier could be so weak as to be
influenced by his wife to commit murder, unless he had already considered doing
it, or had something to gain from the death of Duncan, such as the throne of
Scotland. The defense has tried to convince you that Macbeth was insane at the
time of King Duncan’s murder. If he were not sane, would he have been seen as
such a well-loved and courageous soldier? Would he have been so respected by his
King to be honoured with the title of Thane of Cawdor, had he been ill at mind?
These notions themselves are insane! Macbeth was sane and rational at the time
of the murder! …Yes, Macbeth did show signs of derangement a week after the
murder at the banquet, as testified by Ross, who attended the feast and
described to you the accused’s strange behaviour. Could an innocent man be
driven mad over a period of a week? It was his conscience, my friends, which
drove him insane! After the pre-meditated murders of Duncan and Banquo, the
pressures of being King, and the mounting guilt of the murders he had committed,
were increasing. Overheard by his servant, Macbeth said to his wife “I am in
blood, Stepp’d in so far…” The outlet for his rage was Lady Macduff and
her family. This pointless, and motiveless, massacre shows the cruelty and
immorality that has become a part of Macbeth. He did not stand to gain anything
from the deaths of these innocent people. No longer was he the honoured soldier,
or the compassionate King, but the brutal tyrant. We must stop making excuses
for this cold-hearted man. He was not influenced by his wife or witchcraft. He
was sane when he brutally murdered his King. He was influenced only by his
ambition and greed to become King; he was influenced by his selfishness and
hunger for power. From hero to heartless tyrant, this is the tragedy of Macbeth.
Ladies and Gentlemen, his time has come. Macbeth’s fate lies in your hands. I
trust that you will make the right judgment.
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