Reality is the state of the world of how it really is, whereas an illusion is erroneous interpretation of reality. Illusions often derail people from their sanity, as they cause them to inadvertently live lives in accordance to false beliefs. As a result, the outcomes for these people, and the people around them, are often atrocious. The theme of illusion versus reality is excessively demonstrated in Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare, and also in The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller. In both plays, the characters that lived illusive lives ultimately ended up leaving behind a trail of ignominy, grief, and death. In Macbeth, it is Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who consistently misinterpret reality as a world that accommodates their malevolent desires. In The Crucible, the entirety of the town of Salem misinterprets reality as a world of supernatural danger. In addition to this theme being indubitably evident in these two plays, it is also evident in our modern day society, and also in the lives of the individuals who compose it. Although the consequences of misinterpreting an illusion for reality may not always be pernicious, it is for certain that they will always be adverse.
In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth severely corrupts the morality and ambition of her husband, Macbeth. She causes him to believe that he can execute the murders of innocent people, such as King Duncan, and will evade retribution in the end. Initially, Macbeth was reluctant to abide by Lady Macbeth’s barbaric plans; and was subconsciously able to realize that actualizing his wife’s murderous contemplation would only lead towards a dire outcome. Albeit Macbeth possessed proper morals, his ambition to obtain power allowed his wife’s disparaging rhetoric to override his good conscience. Moreover, he imprudently acceded with his wife’s fatuous assertion concerning the possible failure of their plans. Lady Macbeth had told her husband, “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.” (I, vii, 59-61). This divulges to the audience that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are mentally volatile, as they arrogantly believe that their plans are infallible, and that reality will always act in accordance to their desires. Once Macbeth commits the murder of Duncan, he immediately demonstrates exorbitant remorse. This affirms that the Macbeth’s plan was not infallible, as it failed to anticipate the accumulation of guilt and mental deterioration that it would entail. At first, Lady Macbeth does not suffer as a result of her guilt like her husband did. However, later on in the play, the agglomeration of guilt on her conscience acts as the direct cause of her suicide. Lady Macbeth says during her sleepwalk:
The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that! You mar all with this starting. (V, i, 45-48).
It has become clear at this point, that...