Lady Macbeth Schizophrenia Analysis

643 Words3 Pages
Macbeth, a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, tells of the events in Scotland that led to the death of Duncan, the king, and events that followed afterward. Duncan was killed by Macbeth, but it was his wife that suffered for it, due to her involvement and insistence in the crime. Lady Macbeth suffers from schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) throughout the play as displayed by her obsessively washing her hands in her sleep, her paranoia, and aggressive tendencies. During the first scene of act five Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and doing strange compulsive actions. Matthew Jacofsky describes compulsions as “recurring behaviors (such as repeatedly checking appliances or repeatedly washing hands) or repetitive mental acts…show more content…
In the beginning of the play, she has the “desire to harm one's child,” (Jacofsky 1). She says this herself, “I have given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me; I would, while it was smiling in my face, have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, and dash’d the brains out.” (Owens 357). Macbeth also has these tendencies. George Gerwig states that “they keep giving themselves, in imagination, to pictures of what might be, if the things which they know are right are ignored.” (1). This is evidence of a more severe symptom of OCD, which would affect how you think, a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. As a result, it is safe to say that Lady Macbeth suffers from both OCD and paranoid schizophrenia. Her symptoms of obsessively washing her hands in her sleep, her paranoia, and aggressive tendencies, is evidence of this. The main character of the play, who may or may not have suffered, does not hold a candle to the tragedy of his wife and accomplice. She may have been a strong character but the guilt and extreme nature of her crimes deteriorated her mind, and is speculated to have caused her early and quite untimely demise. A truly tragic character of a truly tragic

More about Lady Macbeth Schizophrenia Analysis

Open Document