Hallucinations In Macbeth

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There is a clear divide between the ideas of the conscious and unconscious. However, there is yet a gray area that remains in the study of the subconscious spirit and mind. There are few things in this world that offer a true, unfiltered understanding into one’s mental condition. Hallucinations, visions that occur in the subconscious state of mind, are uniquely good indicators of mental health and stability. Throughout his play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses motifs of hallucinations and a lack of sleep to offer insight into the inner turmoil of key characters and foreshadow events to come. The first delusions Macbeth experiences are during a time of extreme conflict within himself, as he struggles to make decisions that will weigh heavily in his …show more content…
A clear change is obvious in her personality from the start of the play to the end. In the first act, she serves as a catalyst for spurring Macbeth to action to fulfill his prophecy and become king. As the play progresses, however, she becomes more and more fearful of her husband’s power and the consequences of killing Duncan. She even admits, “'Tis safer to be that which we destroy/than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” (3. 2. 8-9). Finally, it is revealed to the audience in Act 5 what becomes of the Lady. She is in a state of distress and hysterics, and is routinely sleep-walking. As the Doctor and Gentlewoman look on, Lady Macbeth “wakes” from her sleep and begins vigorously washing her hands of Duncan’s blood, mumbling suspicious things to herself. Dialogue and actions during these scene indicate that she has found out about the murders of Banquo and Macduff’s family. Her subconscious reveals the extent of her guilt, and that she deeply regrets the path she decided to take by participating in the murder of Duncan. Watching this sorry sight, the Doctor comments, “Infected minds/to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets” (5. 1. 50-51). This directly explains that those suffering mentally often let go of all inhibition and reveal buried feelings in the midst of sleep (or lack of it). Lady Macbeth is an obvious example of what can happen as guilt haunts a

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