Role of Visions and Hallucinations in Macbeth Essay examples

Role of Visions and Hallucinations in Macbeth Essay examples

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In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations play a significant role and contribute to the development of his character. In the play Macbeth, a man is driven to murder his king and his companions after receiving a fairly ambiguous prophecy told by three witches. Although the witches triggered the series of events that later aid Macbeth’s descent into complete insanity, Macbeth is portrayed from the very beginning as a fierce and violent soldier. As the play goes on, several internal conflicts inside of Macbeth become clear. After he performs several bloody tasks, the madness inside of Macbeth is unmistakably visible to everyone around him. As a result of this insanity, he sees visions and hallucinations. Each time Macbeth hallucinates, he plunges further into insanity that is essentially caused by misguided ambition, dread and guilt. Macbeth has three key hallucinations that play a considerably important role in the development of his character: a dagger, the ghost of Banquo, and four apparitions while visiting the prophesying witches.
Macbeth’s first hallucination and sign of madness comes directly before his wife and he murder King Duncan. After hearing from the witches that he will become the king and conversing with his wife about this, the two of them decide they must kill Duncan. From the beginning of the play, we see Macbeth is a loyal warrior, albeit a vicious one with no trouble killing. It is in the first scene that Macbeth’s brutality is illustrated. An army captain reported:
“For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name),
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor’s minion, carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne’er sh...

... middle of paper ...

.... His insanity was a result of ambition taken much too far, ambition mutated and converted into evil by internal as well as social conflict; Macbeth’s wife did nothing to prevent Macbeth’s sickness and actually helped the problem develop. From his ambition came actions that filled his mind with conflict, dread, suspicion and guilt. It could be said that Macbeth was insane from the beginning, from the moment that the witches appeared to him in the third scene of the play or even from when he carved out his bloody passage in battle. Whether Macbeth was insane his whole life or just from the moment he first saw the imaginary dagger, it is indisputable that his visions and hallucinations only helped to supplement his lunacy.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1915. Google Books. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.

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