Macbeth’s Mental Deterioration

1658 WordsMay 1, 20137 Pages
The mind of each and every individual is unique in its own special way; some, of which, are steadfast and can roll with the punches, while others bend, conform, or break with the many psychological and physical influences in life. In the play The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is introduced by the wounded sergeant as a person of battlefield valor and who showed great loyalty for his king, Duncan. His mind, at the time, expresses an authentic adamant and patriotic persona which seems hard to be swayed. It is later revealed that Macbeth expresses a lack in strength of character and is easily corrupted by his lust for power. Encouraged by his wife, nerve racked by the witches, and plagued by his thirst for authority, his…show more content…
After hearing of the prophecy for the first time, Macbeth immediately starts to mentally divide people of hindrance and people of little importance. The first person he declares an obstacle is Malcolm. Duncan speaks of Malcolm as being an heir to the throne and Macbeth labels him as a “step / On which [he] must fall down, or else o’erleap, / For in [his] way it lies” (I.iv.55-57). Malcolm is one of the heirs to the throne so likewise in order to secure the throne Macbeth must not fall upon this “step”. This is a very important line, because not only does it state a simple obstacle, but it foreshadows the end of the play; for, Macbeth does trip upon this step, while Malcolm is crowned king. His doubt of his most reliable companion completely seals his mental state of apprehension. Macbeth believes Banqou to be his most imminent threat because of the prophetical statement made by the witches about Macbeth’s “fruitless crown” (III.i.65). Macbeth’s mind is rankled by the by his fear of Banqou and “[f]or Banquo’s issue have [Macbeth] filled [his] mind, / For them the gracious Duncan have [he] murdered, / Put rancors in the vessel of [his] peace. / …” (III.i.69-71). Macbeth is allowing himself to be distracted from his already secure throne. He should have been able to see that Banqou posed no threat; and, that by worrying, Macbeth was only allowing the prophecy to be followed through. It is his endless anxiety that permits him to
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