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MacBeth - Analysis of Fear


Fear, this motivates us to do many things no matter if they are 

right or wrong. In the play Macbeth it was fear that was the main

motivating factor that influenced the outcome of the play. This can be 

proved by the subsequent murders that followed after Duncan's, why 

were these committed? Because Macbeth was scared of being caught and 

having to pay for the wrongs he had done. Also look at Lady Macbeth, 

he constant washing of her hands, sleepwalking and other behaviour 

like this. All done out of fear, and like her husband fear of being 

caught. The final piece of proof I offer is Macbeth's actions, they 

were all due to fear, not only of being caught but of the witches' 

prophecies, he was scared of them coming true and tried to stop them 

from happening. This whole play was inspired by fear and what it and 

do to a person.

 To begin, we'll address Macbeth's subsequent murders, following 

Duncan's. For Macbeth, he's just killed the King of Scotland and 

blamed it on his son. It worked and he became King, however he 

remembered the witches' prophecies. They claimed that Macbeth would be 

King, but it would be Banquo's children that would follow after him. 

This made Macbeth very angry, he risked everything to become King and 

after him none of his family will follow.

Only for them; and mine eternal jewel

Given to the common enemy of man,

To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings!

[Act III, S I, L 72-75] 

 Here Macbeth realizes that if something is not done to Banquo, 

then his sons will become King. Macbeth can't have this, he's already 

worried that his soul will go to hell for what he's already done. His 

fear become evident in this scene also, "But to be safely thus: our 

fears in Banquo Stick deep;" [Act III, S I, L 53-54] Macbeth then has 

Banquo murdered, however his son Fleance escapes in the attack. Next 

Macduff refuses to accept Macbeth as king and flees to England to join 

Malcom. And also the witches tell him to beware of Macduff, which 

angers Macbeth and drives him to kill Macduff's family. More fear of 

losing the impending battle with England, makes Macbeth start doing 

anything that will give him an edge in the final battle. Macbeth's 

fear is starting to consume him, he can no longer sleep and is ravaged 

by guilt over what he's done.

As well Lady Macbeth is being comsumed by fear and guilt, she is 

slowing losing her sanity. This is a result of her not being

able to handle what she has done to Duncan. As shown in this quote

Out, damned spot!out,I say!One;Two:why,

then 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord,

fie! a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows

it, when none can call our power to account?

[Act V, S I, L 32-35] 

 Here Lady Macbeth is trying to wash out what she sees as being 

blood on her hands. As well she mentions hell an obvious fear of going 

there for what she has done. At the start Lady Macbeth was the one 

pushing on Macbeth to kill Duncan but as the play goes on she becomes 

weaker as Macbeth becomes stronger, Macbeth isn't troubled by what he 

has done to the extent Lady Macbeth is. Her role in the play slowly 

becomes smaller and smaller as she ends up being driven mad by the 

guilt and soon can no longer take, and ends up taking her own life 

hoping that her torment will end now that she is dead. "The Queen, my 

Lord is dead" [Act V, S 5, L 18], Lady Macbeth takes her life right 

before the battle against the english is about to begin. This taking 

of her own life demonstrates her fear and in the end what that fear 

can do to a person.

 Now we come to the witches prophecies, these are a main source 

of fear for Macbeth, after all where has he learned everything from. 

With each new vision, Macbeth falls deeper and deeper into an evil 

spiral. From the witches first prediction of Macbeth being king, which 

made Macbeth kill to become king. As well as Banquo's children 

becoming kings, this scared Macbeth as I previously mentioned. Also 

when he went back to see the witches he gained some more knowledge, 

"Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; Beware the thane of Fife." 

[Act IV, S I, L 77], well now that Macbeth has heard this, he believes 

that he must kill Macduff, however he learns that Macduff has fled to 

England, so Macbeth desides to kill his family. Next in the cave 

Macbeth is told he can't be killed by any man born of woman, well this 

gives him confidence that no matter what the English will not defeat 

him. And he is also told that he will not be defeated until the trees 

of Birnam Wood move towards his castle. He has put all his faith in 

these prophecies, what the witches say must be true because of the 

first prediction.

 In conclusion you can see what fear can do to a person, it made 

Macbeth mad for power which he ended up getting. But after the first 

of his crimes the rest became easier for him, pretty soon he'd just 

order it and not think twice. That was not the case when he first 

murdered Duncan. All though the play his fear of being caught, and the 

witches prophecies coming true make him do all these evil deeds. Fear 

had become the main movating factor in the play. Hopefully you have a 

better understanding of the play from all this. 


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