ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Did Macbeth Really Commit The "Perfect Crime" In The Play "Macbeth," By Shakespeare

Updated on September 24, 2012

In the popular play Macbeth written by the 15th century playwright William Shakespeare, the story is essentially about one man’s struggle for power and acceptance. So in order to become King of Scotland, Macbeth chooses to take the crown by violent means. Thus, he elects to kill Duncan and take the crown unchallenged. At the start Macbeth and his co-conspirator and wife, Lady Macbeth assumes they have committed the “Perfect Crime.” But essentially a perfect crime is surely one where the criminals get away with it in all meanings of the word. While it is true that Macbeth plans, commits murder and then becomes King with unopposed ease. But ultimately the mental illness, suicide and the fatal death of Macbeth at the hand of Macduff shows that this is far from the perfect crime that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth strived to accomplish.


To an extent at the beginning, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth do achieve their goal of a perfect crime. They plot and connive and do succeed in executing their plan to an almost perfect conclusion. Their alibi, (which was created by Lady Macbeth) was undeniably strong. Lady Macbeth confides to Macbeth: “Will I with wine and wassail so convince, that memory, the warder of the brain, shall be a fume and the receipt of reason. She then follows with this: The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell.” Lady Macbeth basically comes up with a cunning alibi, this involved getting the guards drunk and thus pinning the murder upon the hapless guards. “Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there: go carry them; and smear the sleepy grooms with blood.” The alibi works to great effect. And the guards are framed. No one at first suspects any involvement by Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, despite Macbeth showing little surprise about the death of Duncan. Another important detail to support the fact that perhaps it was a perfect crime was the utter ease of the way it was accomplished and the way the proceeding events were carried out. For instance, Macbeth entered Duncan’s room without raising alarm. He killed him in perfect silence, in the royal bedroom no doubt. Then, the very next day there alibi worked to perfection. Due to these circumstances, it is undoubtedly true that Macbeth, spurred on by the fact that they were never caught, wanted to continue killing. Ironically he is the one to convince Lady Macbeth that killing his close friend Banquo must be carried out, in order to keep his secrets safe. But Macduff becomes suspicious of Macbeth, unfortunately before Macduff can act upon his suspicions his entire family is slain by a sadistic and paranoid Macbeth. Macduff flees to England to escape Macbeth. Macbeth believes that with this victory he cannot be killed anyone.


However, there is more to this than first meets the eye. When Macduff flees to England, it assumed he is running for his life. In a way he was, but there he meets King Duncan’s son Malcolm. As the rightful heir to the throne, Macduff pleads for Malcolm to come back to Scotland and challenge the merciless Macbeth for the crown. To which Malcom responds: “Be comforted.Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge, to cure this deadly grief.” So with this stirring comment, they set out with their massive army on a vendetta to topple Macbeth from the throne. Macbeth and Macduff meet on the battlefield. Macbeth, a highly superstitious man believes he cannot be killed. The Witch prophesied this: “None of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” Sowith this instilled in his mind, he has no fear so to speak. Unfortunately everyone is mortal and Macbeth is slain by Macduff. Thus, he ultimately pays the price for his cold and calculated murder of King Duncan.


But more particularly, we have to look at the sheer consequences of Macbeth’s actions on that fateful night where he killed Duncan while he lay, asleep upon his bed. And also the consequential demise of Lady Macbeth as well. Almost directly after the murder, Macbeth already has regrets. He says to his wife after the murder, "I'll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done, look on't again I dare not." This is just the start of a tyrannically demise of a once brave soldier. He becomes depressed, drowning in his own guilt. He speaks, "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more." These words are hauntingly truthful as the story progresses. He suffers hallucinations, he sees the people he has murdered as apparitions (ghosts) that only he alone can see. Yet this would not be the end of his punishment. His beloved wife commits suicide, at the beginning Lady Macbeth started out as a cold callous woman with no conscience but as the story progresses it is revealed that she too is suffering repercussions. She constantly washes her hands, washing off blood that she alone can see. This goes hand in hand with Macbeth and his ‘ghosts.’


So in actual fact, Macbeth never gets away with anything. In reality he already begins to ‘feel pain’ as soon as he chooses to murder Duncan. The considerable strain brought upon by the murder ultimately cripples him. It doesn’t matter if he never got caught by the law. It matters that he paid for his crime in the end. But the events leading up to his death were more agonizing than death itself.



Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Domenick Dicce 

      5 years ago

      Nice analysis. I never thought about the perfect crime because I was always wrapped up in his guilt and own undoing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)