The Destruction of Macbeth Caused by Guilt

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

The feeling of someone always watching you, that you always have to watch your back. That's how Macbeth felt, always watching around the corner, watching his steps, always doubting loyalty in others. He goes through things that change him and start the decline in his mental health. The book clearly states and shows us the change in Macbeth over time. He goes from happiness with his wife to delusional and hallucinating states, then to straight-up madness. The story clearly tells and points out the events that change him that starts the downward spiral of Macbeth. Macbeth wasn't the only showing signs of a decline. Banquo at one point in time showed signs of paranoia and madness. These signs of madness were shown due to him sulking in his own guilt, hallucinations, and excessive worry.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

After Macbeth killed Duncan he couldn't live with himself. This event changed Macbeth mentally. In Act 2 scene 2, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine." This statement is spoken to his wife right after he kills Duncan. He is saying that the blood on his hands could stain all the world's oceans with the blood from Duncan. This also symbolizes Macbeth's guilt for killing Duncan he knows that Duncan trusted him and confided in him and for him to just stab him in the back like that changes a person. Macbeth was a person in double trust that quickly backstabbed Duncan as soon as a chance of power arose. Macbeth's guilt doesn't just stop here. He also sulks in guilt after ordering for his best friend Banquo to be killed. This also affected Macbeth in a massive way, since Macbeth wanted to make sure no one was in his way to power Macbeth did whatever he needed to do. In Act 3 Scene 4 it states, "Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold Thou hast no speculation in those eyes." He sees his best friend Banquo's ghost at the banquet and is hit with everything the instant guilt of ordering the hit on his best friend. The guilt that Macbeth felt was so overpowering that he couldn't even decipher if it was a vision or if reality was unfolding in front of him. Macbeth's guilt was just one of many factors in his spiral downward to complete insanity. These events were just the start of Macbeth's madness he's also experienced many accounts of hallucinations.

The downward spiral of Macbeth's mental health came from his constant episodes of hallucinations. The episodes never let up and only get worse. In Act 2 Scene 1 Line 33-34, it states "Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee." This scene is clearly showing us that Macbeth is going down a spiral of madness. Macbeth goes to grab the handle of the dagger goes to reach for the dagger and realizes that it's not there. He comes to the conclusion that the dagger appeared due to him being guilty of the act he wants to commit. Macbeth does admit that he wants to commit this act. These hallucinations in a way act as a guardian angel for Macbeth so he wouldn't commit the act. If the hallucinations did not occur Macbeth would have created another act that he would have ended up feeling guilty for another act that he committed. In Act 2 Scene 2 Line 44 states, "Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more." Macbeth starts to hear things in addition to hallucinations. The evidence from the book is telling us that the ghost of Duncan is lurking while Macbeth's sleeping. This can be taken as a punishment to Macbeth since he killed Duncan. Due to this Macbeth is going to have trouble sleeping and the problem won't get any sleep. This will also contribute to his decline in mental health. With hallucinations, Macbeth has another factor contributing to his downward spiral into insanity he would constantly be worried that he would get caught for the acts that he committed.

In other words, Macbeth was constantly paranoid. He always worried that the consequences of his acts would catch up and be the demise of his power. In Act 3 Scene 1 Lines 49-51 it states "To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep, And his royalty of nature reigns that Which would be feared." Macbeth is threatened. Macbeth believes that Banquo is a threat to his crown. This increases Macbeth's paranoia because he's truly scared of the threat Banquo possesses. He even goes to the way to hire assassins to kill Banquo so he would no longer pose a threat to Macbeth and the crown. He then goes on to say that Banquo is his only competition and this frightens Macbeth. As if Macbeth was the only paranoid, his best friend Banquo at one point showed signs of paranoia.

Macbeth's hallucinations and paranoia lead only to one thing his karma. All the acts that Macbeth committed were now all haunting him. He suffered for the acts he committed this was represented by the decline in his mental health. His karma never let up and the more acts he committed the worse it got and his mental health never got better. In Act 2 Scene 2, Line 54 it states "Whence is that knocking." The paranoia never stops when it comes to Macbeth and this is because of the karma he has brought on himself.

Works cited

  1. Shakespeare, W. (1606). Macbeth. Oxford University Press.
  2. Housley, N. (2008). The reign of Edward III. Routledge.
  3. Jankowski, J. (2018). Macbeth: Character Analysis. CliffsNotes.
  4. Mack, M. (2010). Macbeth. Yale University Press.
  5. Oliver, L. (2015). Shakespeare's Macbeth: A Sourcebook. Routledge.
  6. Howard, J. (2002). Women as witches: Studies in early modern European history. Routledge.
  7. Hirst, D. (2017). "Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 2." ThoughtCo.
  8. Kliman, B. (2001). Macbeth: The State of Play. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  9. Bloom, H. (2008). Macbeth: A Bloomsbury Introduction. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  10. Fischlin, D., & Fortier, M. (2001). Macbeth: Text and Performance. Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Get quality help now


Verified writer

Proficient in: Plays, Writers

4.9 (455 reviews)
“He was an absolute wonderful writer and had a great amount of patience with me as well as following all directions very accordingly. ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Macbeth Related Essays

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.