Mental Illness In Lady Macbeth

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Mental illness has a strange history. In the past, people have regarded mental illness as “the work of demons, external spirit forces, and poisons,”(Evelyn), and to this day the cause of mental illnesses is still unknown as they all manifest differently, though some can be described as involving “present distress or impairment in important areas of functioning. Such deviations in thought, feelings, and behavior have been recognized throughout history in all cultures”(Mental Disorders). Even Shakespeare toys around with the concept of mental illness as seen in his play Macbeth; especially when it comes to the character Lady Macbeth. When the audience reads closely between the lines, they will find three mental illnesses that Lady Macbeth has, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Psychotic depression, and they can all be traced back to one thing: the night of Duncan’s murder. One common misconception about PTSD is that it happens exclusively to combat soldiers, but that is not always the case. Some major factors of PTSD in civilians include: “natural disasters, serious accidents, life-threatening illness, physical abuse, and sexual assault during childhood or adulthood” (Gay and Yusko). However, Lady Macbeth’s PTSD was brought about through the guilt of having participating in a crime. She is traumatized by her actions and she even feels guilty about the murder of Lady Macduff and her children, although she was not directly involved in it. Her
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