Macbeth Conflict Essay Examples

The notorious Shakespearean play Macbeth illustrates a natural evil and greed for power present in the human race. Even in modern times, society relates to Macbeth as people are consistently striving for a higher rank and power. Sometimes, people are even prepared to get into difficult situations to achieve their goals, and this gives rise to conflicts. There are three main types of conflict present in the Macbeth play: man vs man, man vs nature, and man vs self. The most prominent form of conflict in Macbeth is man vs man. Throughout most scenes, there are several conflicts between multiple characters. After Macbeth takes the throne, there are many people who are suspicious of him and want to do him harm. In response to these conflicts, Macbeth plots murders to kill anyone who gets in his way or threatens his power.

Macbeth exclaims; “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, / Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword, / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls / That trace him in his line” (Shakespeare IV, i, 171-174). Macbeth plans the murder of Macduff’s family purely because the Weird Sisters told him “Beware, Macduff!” (Shakespeare IV, i, 81). Macbeth’s logic in this plan is difficult to understand, but possibly by harming Macduff’s family, Macduff will be harmed through pain and despair. Macbeth also kills Banquo, who used to be a very good friend, just because he was worried that he might suspect something. “Safe in a ditch he bides, / With twenty trenches gashes on his head, / The least a death to nature” (Shakespeare III, iv, 28-30).

The evil acts Macbeth commits causes several of the characters to become anxious and gain suspicion of Macbeth. Apart from struggles with other people, Macbeth also has a hard time figuring out what he wants to do with his multiple situations. The man vs self conflict is most notably seen with Macbeth. He is easily influenced by his wife Lady Macbeth, and it seems as thought his character transforms and becomes more evil as the murders continue. Macbeth is very frustrated on what to do, as he discusses; “First, as I am his kinsmen and his subject / Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, / Who should against his murder shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself” (Shakespeare I, vii, 13-16). Macbeth is confused as he is arguing with himself on what he should do. He states reasons not to kill Duncan, because Macbeth is his noble kinsmen and the act would bring dishonor.

However, he also states reason why he should kill him, because Macbeth will then become king and fulfill the witches’ fortune. Lady Macbeth, who appears in the beginning as the driving force for the murder of King Duncan, also develops internal conflict. At first, Lady Macbeth seems to be a woman of extreme confidence and will. But, as situations become more and more unstable in the play, guilt develops inside her. For instance, she exclaims; “Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. / Look not so pale. I tell you again, Banquo’s / Burried; he cannot come out on ‘s grave” (Shakespeare V, ii, 65-67). Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and frets about her evil wrongdoings because she is extremely guilty of her influence on Macbeth to commit the murder.

Lady Macbeth reacts emotionally and dwells on her actions as guilt eats at her soul. The final conflict seen in Macbeth is man vs nature. This conflict is not as well shown as the others but is still present. For example, when Macbeth commits his first unjustifiable murder of King Duncan, the land rebels. Huge storms arise, the grey clouds come out, and the animals even start eating each other. Traditionally, kings are directly related to their land and vice versa. When the king dies, the land gets upset and gloomy, as seen with the weather. The well known scandalous Shakespearean play Macbeth demonstrates an innate maliciousness and gluttony for authority existing in our human race. Even in present-day, the population connects with Macbeth as they are consistently working for a better position in society. Every now and then, individuals are even willing to put themselves into odd circumstances to reach their target, and this gives rise to disputes and conflict. Eventually, all is resolved with the death of Macbeth and the rise of Malcolm as King. The overall reason people study conflict is because conflict teaches everyone morals and life lessons. Through difficult and troublesome struggles, humans can learn and adapt to become more honorable and good people.

The play Macbeth is renowned for the conflicts; not only between the characters themselves, but also between the forces of good and evil. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are antitheses of each other: Macbeth moves from being the good subject of King Duncan to his murderer, while Lady Macbeth has evil intentions, but becomes good at the end. The central conflict of the play Macbeth is about the struggle between good and evil.

Two main events happen in the play Macbeth. There are two parts to the play; a good side and a bad, which in the film the characters show incredibly well. This was clear when Lady Macbeth tried to convince Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan “I am in blood, stepp’d in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go’er” (Act 3, Scene 4). In this quote Macbeth is speaking. Lady Macbeth is with him but I don’t think he is actually talking to her. Macbeth is very confused,frantic and paranoid. He just saw Banquo’s ghost and ruined his banquet by showing his insanity to his guests.  The good side is shown by the happy events where there is no killing or fighting. For example in the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Duncan were not against each other.  On the other hand, the bad side features lots of gruesome killing, death and signs of evil activity. For example, the bad sign are bats and the dark “Is this a dagger which I see before me” (Act 2, Scene 1, line 33). On the other hand, the good side has signs like love, peace, and sunlight. “The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.” (Act 1, Scene 5).

Macbeth is the evil person who learns to kill easily. Macbeth is a character in the play that quickly develops a hobby of killing people. He wants to kill Duncan who is the king so that Macbeth can become the monarch. Macbeth is very confident in killing Duncan but when gets nervous Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill. Half way through the play Macbeth kills Duncan in his castle and quickly kills the two guards who were guarding Duncan. He had no fear in killing Duncan and was not worried because Lady Macbeth encouraged him. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to not kill Duncan because then if he does there will be blood and everyone would be frightened and make a huge hassle about it.

“O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven,
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t—
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will”. (Act 3, Scene 3, lines 36-39).

Lady Macbeth helps Macbeth by encouraging him to not give up and kill Banquo.

Duncan is the good king who rules fairly. There are other characters who are also good; Macduff, Malcolm, Donalbain and Banquo. Duncan is a character in the play that is not as certain as Macbeth is to killing. He is not a person who likes to kill people; he is a friendly type of person. Macbeth is Duncan’s cousin and wants to kill Duncan. He is the king of Scotland, who is sensitive, generous and insightful. “Better, be with the dead than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave. After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst. Nor steel, nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing can touch him further.”#.  In the play there are not a lot of good characters , most of the characters are evil and were murderers. In the play there were a lot of images of nature that represented a symbol. For example the positive kind is the sun that is a symbol of happiness, energy, and peace. Another example is the Forest which is a symbol of good.

There are two main areas of interest in this play; the conflict between the characters and the battle between good and evil. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are very different. At the beginning of the play, they are very close but after Banquo is murdered, their relationship falls apart.

Bibliography (MLA citation)

  1.“Macbeth’s Guilt.” 27 Nov 2012
  2. “Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Lady MacBeth.” 27 Nov 2012 <> (visited on November 22 2012)
  3. (visited on November 25 2012)

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