Fear motivates people to do many things; no matter if they are right or wrong. In the play "Macbeth", the emotion, fear, is the main motivating factor that influenced the outcome of the play. Macbeth, afraid of being caught after killing Duncan, and concerned that the witches' prophesies would materialize, committed other murders. Lady Macbeth, also being weighed down with guilt and fear, feels the need to constantly wash her hands, cannot sleep and sleepwalks during the night. After killing the King of Scotland, Macbeth succeeded in becoming the 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 because he felt that he had risked everything to become King and after him none of his family would 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 realized that if something is not done to Banquo, then his sons will become King. Macbeth can't have this and his fear becomes evident, "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. The next issue that Macbeth has to resolve is Macduff who refuses to accept Macbeth as king and flees to
to join Malcom. This act angers Macbeth and his fear that the witches warnings about Macduff might be accurate, drive him him to kill Macduff's family. Macbeth's fear is starting to consume him; he can no longer sleep and is ravaged by guilt over what he's done. Lady Macbeth is also being consumed by fear and guilt and 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 urging 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 it. She ends up committing suicide in the hope that her torment will end. "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. The witches prophecies, are a main source of fear for Macbeth. With each new vision, Macbeth falls deeper and deeper into an evil spiral. Since their first prediction materialized and he became king, he continued to believe every one of their prophesies. As a result of their warnings, he killed Banquo and Macduff. Next, in the cave, Macbeth is told by the witches that he can't be killed by any man born of woman. This gives him confidence that in the battle against the Enlish, he will not be defeated. He is also told that he will not be defeated until the trees of Birnam Wood move towards his castle. Fear drove Macbeth to commit heinous crimes and believe in supernatural forces. Throughout the play his fear of being caught, and the witches prophecies coming true, propel him do many evil deeds. Fear became the main motivating factor in the play.