Hurt people hurt people. This is what induces a cycle of revenge and somehow our species rejoices at the thought of “a tit for a tat”; finds happiness it even. Incidentally, Shakespeare’s play Macbeth focuses on characters thirst for vengeance. Some today may say its justice, but justice has a way of being twisted and induces to fit the needs of the moment and therefore better suit the definition of revenge. People have an innate need to seek revenge. In order for Macduff to recover from the loss of his family, he must reap revenge from the tyrant of Scotland. By leaving them to let them die, Macduff believes that he has failed his family.
This is illustrated particularly when he says that even though he is nothing, they were slaughtered because of him, not because of anything they did (IV. iii. 228-229). Macduff’s ultimate goal is to kill Macbeth but he went to England to find help first because he was too cowardly to go alone. He will only be able to accept the punishment of his family’s demise if he kills the man responsible. Macduff’s sense of honor will return to him once he attains his vengeance. Although many think Macduff’s motive for revenge stems from the passing of his family, the question must be asked; did he do it for selfish reasons as well?
When Macduff tells Malcolm that “you may/ Convey you pleasures in a spacious plenty/ And yet seem cold” (IV. iii. 70-72) it leads to the assumption that perhaps he found a way to satisfy his desires in secret, while still appearing virtuous. When someone seeks to avenge their family they are looked at as a just person. Killing Macbeth will make him seem to be righteous while still achieving his yearning for fame and glory. Macduff’s need to be seen as a hero is a requirement that must be met in order for him to discover happiness. Remember that Macduff is not the only one who grieves from the murderous habits of Macbeth.
Malcolm not only mourns for his father but for his people as well. Consequently, Malcolm has already taken his advice to “Let grief/ Convert to anger. Blunt not the heart, enrage it” (IV. iii. 231-232). Unlike Macduff, Malcolm has passed the stage of sorrow and moved on to anger. Using this anger as ammunition against Macbeth, he will be able to vindicate his father and prove providence for his murder. In spite of his father’s death, Malcolm has royal blood coursing through his veins which gives him the inherent impulse to watch over his subjects. In order for the people of Scotland to rise up gainst their oppressor they need the Prince of Cumberland to arrive. Malcolm wants his kingdom to be comforted, he wants them to know that he is coming to rescue them (IV. iii. 190-191). What is best for Scotland is that Macbeth dies. Malcolm possesses the power to lead his people against evil. He is ready to fight for what is right for his country. Even if it means assassinating a man, Malcolm is willing to do whatever it takes to bring back honor to his father’s name and kingdom. Revenge is not always for the best and what better way to be taught this lesson than to observe the witches.
In the weird sisters lives an intrinsic craving to see those who have done them wrong suffer. For instance, when the first witch demands nuts from a sailor’s wife and she does not give her any the witch resolves to take her anger out on the husband by making him a cursed man so for eighty-one weeks he will waste away in agony (I. iii. 20-22). An evil spirit resides within the witches, which elicits their longing to provide the cruelest means of retribution. They’re aware of how much misery one can endure before they are sucked dry of their compassion, the trait that separates us from all other creatures.
Once the witches grasp that Macbeth was just using them for their powers, Hecate decides that they are going to get revenge on him. Specifically, Hecate tells the witches that Macbeth “shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear/ His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear” (III. vi. 30-31). It’s possible that the weird sisters merely provoke Macbeth’s murderous ambition. On the other hand, it could be that they control Macbeth’s actions and cause him to commit murder. What is behind all this is their embodiment of an unreasoning, instinctive evil; this evil permits them to find happiness in getting even.
Macbeth illustrates the necessity people have to attain an eye for an eye. Initially, Macduff and even the witches seek this need in order to numb their emotions to the true evil that lurks inside them. On a different note, Malcolm’s need for revenge is not selfish but is rather to avenge those who he cares about. The real truth in what is to be learned is that the cycle of violence must end and people should find other ways to harbour happiness. We must decide to get off this apocalyptic merry-go-round of revenge now or never.