Humans are fragile beings. Many things are capable of annihilating any goodness in human nature. This powerful truth becomes evident in many situations of human hardship. Such is the case in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth in Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 30 to 61, where Macbeth’s originally good and kind life takes a turn for the worse.
This passage takes place just after Macbeth has murdered the king, Duncan. He does this because the witches told him that he will be king. The audience sees Macbeth reflecting on his choices in this passage, and they see that his decisions have taken a toll on his mental wellbeing. Humans often make choices that undermine even the most fundamental of their beliefs, and that there is little in life to help them recover from hardship. By portraying these aspects of human nature, the analyzed passage demonstrates the powerful truth that a human’s aptitude is for downfall.
First, Macbeth makes decisions in this play which go against the things he believes in. After he has murdered the king, Macbeth says he hears people praying. He says, “But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” stuck in my throat” (2.2.42-44). This statement shows how Macbeth believes in some sort of deity, but his decision to murder the king has separated him from this belief. He wants to say “Amen,” but his actions have prevented him from doing so. Humans will often make poor decisions due to the circumstances they are in, even when the decisions go against their beliefs. When a person’s capability to practice or live out their beliefs is taken away by their poor choices, they devolve as a person and can only continue to make decisions against the better interest of these beliefs.
When a human being undergoes hardship, there is little that can help them recover. After Macbeth has committed the murder, he hears voices telling him not to sleep anymore. They say, “Macbeth does murder sleep”−the innocent sleep, sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast” (2.2.49-52). Sleep is one of the few ways Macbeth can recover from the hardships of his life. After he has made the terrible decision to kill Duncan, this ability to sleep is taken away from him. Now, there is virtually no way for him to emotionally and physically recover from the effects of his actions because sleep was the best way to recuperate. Because humans have so little to recover from their poor choices or the hardships they endure, their tendency is to continue in their downward spiral.
As demonstrated, a human’s natural tendency is to devolve. This is portrayed by Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. He makes decisions against the better interest of his fundamental beliefs and he has little to recover from the effects of these decisions. Humans will always make poor choices, and often will not recover from them. This is the powerful truth about human nature, one’s decisions are not always good, and that there is little way to redeem oneself after the fact.