Macbeth Mental Illness Paper
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both show signs of what would today be diagnosed as symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is defined as “long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation”. There are three major symptoms of this disorder: not knowing the difference between reality and fantasy, jumbled conversations, and withdrawal physically and emotionally.
The most common and most well known symptom of schizophrenics is when they can’t make out what is real and what isn’t. Schizophrenics suffer from delusions and hallucinations. A delusion is ‘belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder’. A hallucination is seeing or hearing something is isn’t really there. Some people diagnosed as schizophrenic speak with rambling conversations. They often burst out with vague statements.
Lastly, some schizophrenics withdraw emotionally, for example, their outlook on life is dead and show little care for the world. They withdraw physically, for example, their movements become robot like and really jerky. What causes people to become schizophrenic? One possibility, in Macbeth and Lady macbeth’s case is guilt. Macbeth, in trying to become king, kills some people he he was so loyal to. He really didn’t want to kill anyone but he knew that in order to become king he had to. He said to his wife, “We will proceed no futher in this business: He hath honored me of late. (Act 1, Scene 7, Lines 31-32).
When Lady Macbeth finds that Macbeth has been prophesized to be king, she doesn’t believe he is capable of fufilling the prophecy alone. So, she says to herseld, “hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear, and chastise with the valor of my tounge which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crowned withal. ” (Act 1, scene 5, lines 23-28) Macbeth becomes so passionate about becoming king that he killed anyone who could possibly take the throne away from him, even King Duncan. “ I have done the deed”, he said to his wife after killing him. Act 2, Scene 4, line 14) Macbeth shows several symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms are techniques that Shakespeare uses to create the idea that Macbeth actually has a mental illness. Macbeth’s main symptom is detachment from reality. While contemplating killing Banquo to secure his fate, Macbeth begins to see an imaginary dagger in front of him. He asks, “Art thou not, fatal vision sensible to feeling as to sight, or art thou a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-opposed brain? ” (Act 2, Scene 2, lines 35-39).
Then after Banquo is dead, Macbeth believe he sees his ghost during dinner with the county’s nobility. Macbeth says, “The table’s full” (Act 3, Scene 4, line 46). Lennox points to the seat where Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost sitting and tells him that it is empty. Confused, Macbeth asks, “Where? ” (Act 3, Scene 4, line 48). He really thought that Banquo’s ghost was sitting in that seat. When Macbeth went to visit the witches, he had three more hallucinations. The first was an armed head that warned him to “Beware of MacDuff” (Act 4, Scene 1, line 71).
The second was a bloody child that said “Macbeth! ” ( Act 4, scene 1, line 77) three times and the third was a crowned child with a tree in his hand and said, “ Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him. ” (Act 4, scene 1, lines 92-94). Lady Macbeth also displays many signs of schizophrenia in Macbeth. Because of all the murdering that she has been involved in, at night time, Lady Macbeth has hallucinations that her hands are covered in blood and that she cannot remove the smell of the blood. “Here’s the smell of the blood still.