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Macbeth Insanity Essay

966 words - 4 pages

In Macbeth, William Shakespeare portrays Macbeth’s dishonorable political advancement to his downfall, as the acquisition of foreseen titles ends in his execution. While Scotland is fearful of the invading forces, Macbeth’s valor in the battle with traitors secure him the positions of Thane of Cawdor, as well as Thane of Glamis. Macbeth is a character of bravery and courage. In the beginning, one believes that Macbeth is a stable, rational individual, although when Macbeth discovers the weïrd sisters’ forecasts that he will continue to obtain ranks, an insane character emerges from within. Macbeth’s actions are based upon motivation and truly evoke an imbalance in his mind. Despite these factors, the imperative annihilation of Duncan proceeds Macbeth to a further state of insanity. Macbeth’s mental state transforms in the progression of the Shakespearian tragedy, developing a character that originates as sane, but then is driven towards madness through the tragic flaw of ambition; this is the result of (1) Macbeth’s likelihood to commit atrocities, (2) willful construction of figments, and (3) external pressures for pursuance of ill-advised intentions.

Ambition plagues Macbeth over the course of the epic tragedy, conveying his sanity progresses to a state of mental illness through his murderous measures. At first, Macbeth is aware of the outcomes of murdering King Duncan, and contemplates whether to enact Duncan’s deposition. Consequently, Macbeth’s hamartia of determination causes him to formulate a strategy for the execution of Duncan, even though no other true motive is apparent: “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’ other,”(Shakespeare 1. 7. 25-28). More importantly, Macbeth is willing to sacrifice his conscience and sense of morality for kingship, exhibiting his true madness. Additionally, due to Macbeth’s motivation, he presents Duncan’s fate by pursuing action as he exits upon his words, “I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. / Hear it not, Duncan, for its is a knell / That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” displaying Macbeth’s plan to annihilate Duncan initiates his insanity. (2. 1. 75-77). Also, when Macbeth commits atrocities towards the guards out of untrue anger is another instance of his madness. Considering Macbeth’s encounters, one determines he is a psychotic and ambitious character. Macbeth is so aspiring that he will commit any extreme action to gain authority. Clearly, the assassinations of King Duncan and the guards demonstrate to be politically beneficial for Macbeth, as he will obtain the throne—yet, mentally it affects Macbeth’s conscience. Furthermore, the immorality of Macbeth maneuvers usher him toward a decline, because his insanity and ambition expedites his heinous crimes. For example, insane Macbeth focuses on the issue of Banquo and believes, “For [Banquo’s sons] the gracious Duncan [he has] murdered; / Put rancors in the...

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