Macbeth’s Doubt

Boldness is certainly something Macbeth was lacking leading up to and at the carrying out of the murder. The first time he sees his wife after promising her “greatness”, if Lady Macbeth’s observation is any indication, doubt was obviously already creeping into his head: “Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters. “He later exclaims to his wife, “we will proceed no further in this business.” After Lady Macbeth puts forth a concrete plan for committing the murder he gives in to her persuasions, but not without uneasiness as he confesses, “false face must hide what the false heart doth know.” Immediately after committing the deed, he feels instant regret: “wake Duncan with thy knocking, I would thou could’st.” Robert Greene provides a perfect illustration to how his doubt paves the way for his dissolution. From “The 48 Laws of Power”, Going Halfway with Half a Heart Digs the Deeper Grave: “If you enter an action with less than total confidence, you set up obstacles in your own path. When a problem arises you will grow confused, seeing options where there are none and inadvertently creating more problems still. Retreating from the hunter, the timid hare scurries more easily into his snares.” Macbeth grows deeper and deeper into a hole with each murder under his belt, and because his actions are all born out of fear and confusion, he always makes the wrong move, never inching closer to security but hasting towards his unfortunate sanguine finale.


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