Essay On Mental Illness In Macbeth

1182 Words5 Pages
Ladies and Gentlemen, in the trial of The People of Scotland vs. Macbeth, the prosecution will claim a tale of a power-hungry man who let ambition get the best of him. They will present physical evidence of him with the dagger, him conspiring with his wife, and him hiring men to kill. However, the evidence presented today by the defense will tell the true story: a man overtaken by mental illness. Macbeth displays the classic signs of narcissistic personality disorder: elevated sense of entitlement and delusions about power. While Macbeth did commit the murders, he was insane, and therefor did not commit the murders with criminal intent. The extent of his mental disorder has manifested in hallucinations and the gradual unraveling of his…show more content…
Macbeth may talk of big plans to assassinate Duncan, but at the root he is still a good person. His description predicts the eventual effect of his actions: total and complete loss of rational self, and slippage into full-blown psychosis. Following this point, Macbeth should not be held accountable for his crimes, as he goes completely insane.
A characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder is heavy hallucinations, caused by a fantasy the person has imagined for themselves. Even before he murders Duncan, Macbeth’s delusion of him becoming king manifests through hallucinations involving murder imagery. As he walks towards Duncan’s room, a floating dagger, only visible by him, leads him there. The mirage he has placed himself in, where he is king of Scotland, has caused his subconscious to produce delusions, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not and yet I see thee still” (2.1.44-45). Macbeth acknowledges that the dagger is not real, and yet he still attempts to clutch it, fully invested in his fantasy. He describes later as “A dagger of the mind”, as if the very delusions he is undergoing are ripping his mind apart (2.1.50). However, through the phrases ‘of the mind’ and ‘I have thee not’ connote that he knows the visions

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