Power And Insanity In Macbeth

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Macbeth Essay

Imagine the President of the United States suffering from insanity. The thought of anyone in authority being mentally unstable may rattle some, but this scenario plays out in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. The play describes how the title character uses violence to maintain power but gradually plummets into the abyss of mental illness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare asserts how power drives people to a descent into madness, as demonstrated by the title character and his wife experiencing guilt after committing murder to attain authority. Macbeth imagined the consequences of his actions in a terrifying vision, but performs the devious act afterwards and suffers immediate remorse. Another murder displays Macbeth’s progressive
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In the third act, during a festival honoring the deceased Banquo, the victim’s ghost apparently taunts Macbeth, and the now-king dares the ghost to speak, much to the dismay of the guests (3.4.82-87, 113-116, 121-129). Once again, Macbeth experiences hallucinations, which can sometimes serve as flashbacks of traumatic events and terrifying those who, according to people around them, are “seeing things”. In fact, no one at the festival except Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost; in stage and film productions of Macbeth, the ghost is either nonexistent or portrayed by an actor. The audience can determine whether Macbeth truly sees the ghost. From the perspective of neuroscientist Nancy J. C. Andreasen, besides his harrowing confession, Macbeth’s hallucinations are another sign of him “still suffering enough from pangs of conscience” (“The Artist”). Hallucinations and flashbacks often bring a sense of deja vu, and both Duncan and Banquo’s murders weigh heavy on Macbeth’s heart. Furthermore, his hallucinations drive him further into insanity and deviance. In fact, they also push him to do the unthinkable in order to maintain his …show more content…
The title character imagines the results of his brutal act against Duncan, but kills. him nonetheless. Afterwards, he expresses fresh guilt by simultaneously discussing and withholding his not-so-secret act. After murdering Banquo, the feast honoring him demonstrates Macbeth’s further derangement, but this does not excuse the subsequent cold-blooded massacre of an entire family. Lady Macbeth tries to save herself by masking her husband’s instability, but ultimately, her sleepwalking spell places her own mental illness on display. This goes to show that it is not easy for people in a position of power to admit that they need

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