Emotion of Fear - In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Essay by AndruHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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The emotion of fear is so powerful that it can motivate an individual to do the unimaginable. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, fear is the driving force for murder, escape, and madness. There are three types of fear that are exhibited in this tragic Shakespearean play. They are the fears based on morals, the fears based on physical harm, and the fears based on selfishness. The purpose of this essay is to give evidence of the various types of fears that certain characters in Macbeth have acted on.

One of the major types of fears in Shakespeare's Macbeth was based on morals. Throughout this tragedy, Macbeth, the main character, is in conflict with his knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, his personal battle deals with his emotions. By doing many evil deeds, Macbeth compromised his morals to become king. Macbeth's fear on his moral is shown when the conflict on whether he should kill King Duncan was arousing inside of him.

Macbeth's doubt in killing King Duncan is decided for him when he sees the bloody dagger in front of him.

Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation.

(Act 2, Scene I, Line 33~38)

The dagger of his mind convinces Macbeth to slay King Duncan. The above quote makes the move urging Macbeth to kill the king. Macbeth makes his decision to kill King Duncan; "I go, and it is done; the bell invites me hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven, or to hell." (Act 2, Scene I,