Duncan's Mental Illness In Macbeth

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In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the character Macbeth is enlightened of a prophecy stating that he, the current Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, is to become the next king of Scotland. He conspires against the current king, Duncan, in order to allow himself to ascend to the Scottish throne in a timelier manner, and Duncan soon comes to a bloody demise while soundly asleep in Macbeth’s own castle. In this Shakespearian play, Macbeth murders Duncan in cold blood while under the spell of disorienting prophecies, selfish ambitions, and mental instability. Macbeth’s murderous intents first begin when the weird sisters tell him of a prophecy stating that he will be king. However, in order for that to be true, the current king, Duncan, would need…show more content…
It is a plain fact that insanity can be triggered by traumatic experiences, but Macbeth shows signs of his mental instability in the days leading up to Duncan’s death in the form of paranoia and hallucinations that clearly indicate Macbeth is a sufferer of mental illnesses before the king’s murder. His conditions deteriorate further as time progresses; mild paranoia and a single hallucination turns into overwhelming paranoia, insomnia, and multiple hallucinations. Macbeth describes his mind as “full of scorpions” and corruption during his downward spiral to full-blown insanity. Macbeth’s insanity becomes painfully obvious during a feast for Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the Lords. During this dinner, Macbeth sees the ghostly figure of Banquo, while the individuals surrounding him see nothing but empty space. Macbeth becomes unmanageable as he bellows at the ghost saying “Avaunt, and quit my sight!” and confesses to one of his horrendous crimes in front of the attendees of the feast (3, 4, 112). In these examples, Macbeth’s mental health clearly worsens after Duncan’s

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