The Role Of Insanity In Macbeth

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It is clear that Macbeth's mental state had been greatly altered by the end of the play, but even from the beginning he wasn't completely sane. His imagination runs wild, and his conscience falls behind him. Macbeth did not seem to be destructive before the witches, but the second he witnessed the witches with Banquo at his side, he started to lose his initial standing. Henry N. Paul states "Macbeth's imagination is not only powerful; it is characterized by what has been happily called "the hallucination of self-credulity.""(Paul) This "self-credulity" as Henry says, leads Macbeth away from rationality. Macbeth proves his delusional disposition when the witches foretell his future in the second scene of Macbeth and "he assumes it to be true, acts as though it were true, and is thus brought to ruin"(Paul).…show more content…
Henry states that "Macbeth's imagination led by his hopes which tempts him to violate his conscience"(Paul), the hopes that he mentions are his avarice for the throne that had been boiling in him since he was first told of it by the weird sisters. Immediately after the murder of Duncan, "Macbeth experiences conscience as a chamber of sights and sounds"(Stoll), Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth "Methought I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murther sleep' " (II, ii, 32– 33). This was his conscience coming forward through his imagination. He knew had done wrong, but his greed for the throne pushed him on, and Lady Macbeth told him it was just in his head. Abraham Stoll states that "She pushes beyond "foolish thought" to the outright assertion that Macbeth is sick in the head and therefore is hearing things which are not true" (Stoll). Macbeth's imagination and conscience are then allowed to continue to stir unnaturally within his

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