Macbeth - a Study of the Criminal Mind

1045 WordsJun 19, 20135 Pages
Macbeth Analysis – English Honours: Shakespeare delves straight into the theme of murder and the study of the criminal mind. The trio of witches subtly expose themselves to be concocting a devious plan in the first scene itself. “When the hurly-burly’s done. When the battle’s lost and won. That will be ere the set of sun. Where the place? Upon the heath. There to meet with Macbeth”. (I.i.3-7) As the play progresses, Shakespeare reveals the underlying causes for the murders but stalls the unsettling outcomes, the effect of being a criminal. Each of the main characters in ‘Macbeth’ contribution to the central theme grows throughout the play. The Three Witches and Lady Macbeth’s manipulation of Macbeth and the growing insanity of the…show more content…
Toward the end of the play, she is sleepwalking through the castle, trying to wash away the guilt that stains her. Her sensitivity to the act becomes her one weakness. Lady Macbeth then kills herself, showing her inability to deal with their crimes. The initial impression of Macbeth is a brave, strong and capable man, as we first heard of him in the wounded captain’s account. This notion is becomes problematic once he encounters the three witches. It can be seen that Macbeth’s physical courage is joined by a tendency to self doubt – the prophecy that foretold him to be king brings him joy but also creates inner turmoil. He is manipulated into committing murders that he doesn’t truly want to do. Macbeth however, hides his feelings as he says “I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” (I.vii.79 - 82) He fluctuates between fits of fevered action, in which he plots a series of murders to secure his throne, and moments of terrible guilt (as when Banquo’s ghost appears) and absolute pessimism (after his wife’s death, when he seems to succumb to despair). Shakespeare uses Macbeth to show the terrible effects that ambition and guilt can have on a human who lacks strength in
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