Constant Conjunction in Macbeth

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy defines constant conjunction as, “the relation between two events, one of which invariably accompanies the other.” In Macbeth these include prophecy and dissatisfaction, murder and bloodiness, tyranny and fear, as well as conspiracy and hesitation. The prophecies told by the Weird sisters always leave things in ambivalence, engendering that feeling of wanting to know more. “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis but how of Cawdor. The thane of Cawdor lives, a prosperous gentlemen, and to be king stands not within the prospect of belief, no more than to be Cawdor.” Lady Macbeth laments, “who would of thought the old man to of had so much blood in him,” but she doesn’t have the prescience to conceptualize that a knifed murder and the blood theretofore is never a sanitary outcome. The more Macbeth realizes that he is viewed as a tyrant, the more he understands that he is wanted to be overthrown, engendering uneasiness and fear. ” They have tied me to a stake: I cannot fly, but bearlike, I must fight the course. What’s he that was not born of woman? Such a one am I to fear, or none.” And lastly conspiracy and hesitation; we all remember Macbeth’s famous speech which lays out his reasoning behind his non-commitment . “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly. If the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch with his surcease; Success! That but this blow might be the be-all and the end-all here—but here upon this bank and shoal of time, we’d jump the life to come. But in these cases, we still have judgement here. That we but teach bloody instructions which being taught return to plague the inventor. This even-handed justice commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice to our own lips. He’s here in double trust; first as I am his kinsmen and his subject strong both against the deed. Then as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself. Besides this Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels trumpet tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off. And pity like a naked newborn babe striding the blast or heaven’s cherubim horsed upon the sightless couriers of the air, shall blow the horrid deed into every eye, that tears shall drown the wind. I have spur to prick the sides of intent but only vaulting ambition; which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other.” There are many things that go hand in hand in this play. The more you read it, the more new ones and new examples you notice. If you readers notice any other constant conjunction in the play, please leave a comment. Thank you.


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