Essay On Mental Deterioration In Macbeth

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Macbeth, one of the darkest and most powerful plays written by Shakespeare, dramatizes the disastrous psychological effects that occur when evil is chosen to fulfill the ambition for power. Throughout the play, Macbeth’s character loses mental stability and becomes enthralled with the idea of being king. Empowered by the three witches, this situation consumes Macbeth’s consciousness until his mental state becomes deranged. This mental deterioration is evident in what he says and does as he evolves into a tyrannical ruler attempting to protect himself from enmity and suspicion. In an attempt to fulfill his ambition for power, Macbeth displays mental deterioration and becomes increasingly bloodthirsty. Macbeth is first introduced in a sergeant’s…show more content…
At this point, Shakespeare has provided sufficient evidence to prove that Macbeth is mentally troubled. His death and his mental deterioration are inevitable. He is haunted by the deeds he has done and the witches’ prophecies. Macbeth claims that life is utterly meaningless when he says, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing.” (5.5 27-31). He no longer has the will to live with knowledge of what he has done. The witches, however, have revealed that he cannot be killed by “one of woman born.” Upon hearing this, Macbeth believes himself to be invincible. During the battle of Dunsinane, he fights recklessly against his foes, under the impression that none can harm him. Macduff then enters the scene. He reveals that he was not of woman born but “from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped” and therefore has the ability to kill Macbeth (5.8 19-20). Afraid for his life, Macbeth remains persistent and declares that he will not surrender. In the end, Macbeth is slain and Malcolm becomes King of Scotland. Ultimately, Macbeth’s mental deterioration led to his downfall and imminent death. Before Macduff slew him, Macbeth was almost wishing for death. He was overwhelmed with guilt, regret, ambition, power, paranoia, and the blood on his hands.…show more content…
It is common for people to react harshly after committing murderous crimes. In other pieces of literature, authors often show main characters losing their minds after committing heinous deeds. For example, the main character in Edgar Allan Poe’s A Telltale Heart, is driven mad by the supposed beating heart of the old man he murdered. Poe makes it clear that the man is most definitely dead, and the beating of his heart is heard by only the main character. This is similar to Banquo’s ghost, as it is only visible to Macbeth. The sight causes those around him to question his sanity, just as it caused the main character in A Telltale Heart to confess to a crime. In conclusion, Macbeth’s criminal actions throughout the play inevitably resulted in his mental deterioration, similar to those in other pieces of
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