Macbeth And His Mental Deterioration Essay

1611 words - 6 pages

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play centring around opposing forces trying to gain power in the succession for the throne of Scotland. Macbeth, in the beginning, is known to be a nobel and strong willed man, who is ready to fight for his country. However, one may see that Macbeth has a darker side to him, he is power hungry and blood thirsty, and will not stop until he has secured his spot as King of Scotland. Though Macbeth may be a tyrant, he is very naïve, gullible, and vulnerable. He is vulnerable and willing to be persuaded by many characters throughout the play, his wife, the witches to name a few, this is the first sign that his mental state is not as sharp as others. One will see the deterioration of Macbeth and his mental state as the play progresses, from level headedness and undisturbed to hallucinogenic, psychopathic and narcissistic. The triggering event for his mental deterioration is caused by the greed created from the witches first prophecy, that Macbeth will become King of Scotland (I.iii.53). Because of the greed causing his mental deterioration, Macbeth’s psychosis is what caused his own demise by the end of the play. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the tragic hero Macbeth’s demise is provoked by his hallucinogenic episodes, psychopathic actions and narcissistic behaviours.
Hallucinogenic Episodes
To begin with, Macbeth experiences many hallucinogenic episodes throughout the play. Macbeth begins to experience his first hallucinations before the first murder he commits. The murder of King Duncan is an inciting event in many ways, it helps Macbeth become King, it begins the Macbeth’s sleepless nights “Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor/Shall sleep no more” (II.ii.55-56) and also the worsening of his psychosis. As Macbeth’s psychosis begins, a visual representation of Macbeth’s hallucinations is portrayed on stage. For example, before the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth begins to visualize a dagger pointed towards the room of Duncan (II.i.40-45). Macbeth is experiencing very vivid hallucination, not only is he imagining the dagger, but hallucinations have taken place in many other scenes as well. Hallucinations are characterized as the perception of an object, in any of the 5 senses, in the absence of an external stimulus (Teeple, Caplan, Stern). One would see that Macbeth falls into this definition, not only does he experience a hallucination once, but multiple times throughout the play. To further exemplify, would be when the ghost of Banquo appears at the banquet after the coronation of Macbeth as King. When Banquo first appears, Macbeth believes it is a joke being played on him (III.iv.61), Macbeth then realizes that Banquo is a hallucination within his sub-conscience and is a version of the devil that has come to taunt him (III.iv.72-73). Macbeth certainly displays many of the the characteristics that link his hallucinations to his mental deterioration, however his psychopathic behaviours...

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