The Madness of Macbeth

             In Shakespeare's great tragedy, Macbeth, the eponymous character’s imagination allows him to see the consequences of the unethical acts he is committing. However, his greed begins to dominate his guilty thoughts, and his insanity becomes progressively more evident. In light of the M’Naghten, Federal, and Penal Code laws, Macbeth would not be found fit to stand trial by reason of insanity. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Macbeth would display characteristics of being a paranoid schizophrenic, as seen in his poor mental condition and vacuous behaviour when he speaks to the three witches, visualizes the floating dagger, and his obsession with the idea of being invincible.
             Macbeth’s behavior during the play could lead the reader to believe that Macbeth is crazy. However, in light of today’s medical standards, Macbeth could be considered a victim of paranoid schizophrenia due to his mood swings, auditory hallucinations, and delusions. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth starts out as a noble warrior who would give up his life for the protection of the King. But soon after, his greed overtakes his morals and Macbeth is driven to do whatever it takes to achieve his wants. In Act 1, sc 2, Macbeth had protected his King and his sons, and proved his loyalty by fighting to protect Malcolm. However, several scenes later, Macbeth begins to consider the idea of murdering the King (Act 1, sc 7). His opinion and mood fluctuate a great deal before Macbeth accepts what must be done "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, / Without my stir" (Act 1, sc 3) and blames fate for whatever may happen. In Act 2, sc 1, when he hallucinates a floating bloody dagger being led to him, Macbeth commits to the idea of murdering King Duncan. The dagger, in Macbeth’s mind is showing him what must be done. After Macbeth has killed the King, he imagined he heard a voice cry out: “Sleep no more, / Macbeth does murder s...

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The Madness of Macbeth. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:24, January 22, 2017, from