Mental Illness In Macbeth

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Bloodshed in William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth, causes strong guilt, mental instability, and eventually his downfall as shown by Beebe Stroud’s article, “Guilt: Definitions, Types, & Differences Versus Shame”. In the play, Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to murder the king to make himself king. Later, to maintain his position, he kills Banquo and Macduff’s family. Although he should be happy that his position is somewhat secure, the guilt as well as the feeling of blood on his hands creates paranoia and other mental issues that prevent him from keeping his position and lead him to his downfall. After the murder of King Duncan, strong guilt overtakes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The deed haunts them and Macbeth wishes that “great Neptune’s …show more content…

In fact, “an excess of guilt is listed as a symptom in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2013) for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.” (Stroude 1) Having committed murders, it’s reasonable to assume that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth feel a considerably overwhelming amount of guilt, leading to PTSD and possibly other disorders. Although not officially listed as symptoms of each other in the DSM-5, Paranoia and PTSD are often diagnosed separately in the same people, meaning if someone has one of them, they're likely to have the other. Throughout the story, Macbeth becomes increasingly paranoid that someone will take the throne from him; therefore “they say, blood will have blood” (Macbeth 3.4.124). By this, Macbeth compares murder to the domino effect wherein one murder causes another. The paranoia that everyone is out to get the throne and have him dead compels him to kill anyone in his way. This ties back to his mental instability, and worsens any PTSD he has developed creating an unbreakable cycle of blood, guilt, PTSD, paranoia, and back to blood, linking blood to guilt again almost …show more content…

Before the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth says, “I see thee still,/ And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,/ Which was not so before.” (Macbeth 2.1.45-47) He is staring at the “dagger of the mind” as it is covered in blood and guilt, as it wasn’t before. He continues to say, “There’s no such thing:/ It is the bloody business which informs/ Thus to mine eyes” (Macbeth 2.1.47-49), and he’s not so far gone yet that he doesn’t realize what he’s done. Although he hadn’t murdered the king yet, the damage has already been done. The blood representing guilt was already on the knife that represents his mind. This is the turning point in the play in which there was no going back, and he was fated to die to

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