Paranoia And Fear In Macbeth

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In Shakespeare 's play “Macbeth”, the main character Macbeth is fraught with guilt and anxiety after being told by three witches that he would someday be king. He sees no other way to become king other than by killing the current King Duncan, who he was once very loyal to. Once doing so, he does not see any way to keep his kingship besides by killing those whom he saw as a threat, even people who were once very close and loyal to him. While his actions may be considered evil, he did what he did because he did not know what else he could do. When he kills people, he does so because he sees them, in his paranoia and fear, as a threat, he does not do it for fun. When Macbeth is told he will be king by the witches, he soon cannot think about …show more content…
When he kills King Duncan, he is doing so in order to be king and because his wife pushed him to do it. Later on in the play, however, when he becomes king, he also kills his formerly loyal friend Banquo. He is doing this for his own safety, because he feels Banquo is a threat to his throne. Alone in his palace, he says to himself “Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared.” (III.i.52-53) Because Banquo has more royalty in his blood than Macbeth does, Macbeth rightfully fears that Banquo may be a threat to his kingship, especially with people being more suspicious of Macbeth after the king’s murder. So in order to protect his throne, Macbeth hires two assassins to get rid of the potential threat. He does this not because he is an evil person, but because he rightfully fears that he may not be king for much longer if Banquo were to challenge his kingship. Some would say that when he did become king, his continued killings were unnecessary and evil, except in his paranoia, he saw very good reasons for these killings. He was afraid of others besides Banquo challenging his kingship as well. One unnamed lord referred to Macbeth as a “Tyrant” (III.vi.28) and that when Macbeth is no longer king they “May again give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights.” (III.vi.37) With Macbeth as king, he says, it is impossible for him to eat or get any food until …show more content…
However, these actions do not make him an evil person. Internally, he was very confused, and to him, there was no clear right and wrong actions, all that he could think about was fulfilling the prophecy that was given to him. This prophecy severely impacted his mental health, and as such, did not really know what he was doing or why it would be considered evil. As Paul Zak puts it in the article “Why Some People are Evil”, Macbeth’s brain was in “Survival mode”, and all that mattered to him in the short time that he was king was keeping himself alive and in power, because he knew there were several threats to his royalty. He did what he had to do to keep his position as a king, and while some of his actions were evil, Macbeth as a person was not evil, instead he did what seemed to him to be entirely

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