State Of Mind Affects Macbeth Essay

1122 words - 4 pages

In court, a criminal will commonly make the statement that they were in the wrong state of mind when they committed the crime, to lessen their punishment. In fact, a person’s state of mind can affect their actions, and the actions of others towards them. Authors commonly use a persons state of mind to embellish actions of a character or to better explain changes in the character. William Shakespeare uses state of mind to assist in the degeneration of the protagonist Macbeth in the tragedy Macbeth. Macbeth is a brave, loyal and strong Scottish general in the Middle Ages, more specifically the eleventh century, who despite his power on the battlefield was swayed easily to the tragic life of a murderer by the three predictions of three witches. Macbeth originally disbelieved the predictions, but after two predictions became true he was convinced the third prediction was meant to be. The third prediction being that Macbeth would become the sovereign of Scotland. After a some convincing from Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s ambition for power lead him to kill King Duncan when he came to stay the night at Inverness, Macbeth’s castle. After killing King Duncan. Macbeth embarks on further atrocities with increasing ease. William Shakespeare uses the changes in Macbeth’s state of mind to assist in Macbeth’s degeneration from loyal solider to evil tyrant.
The degeneration of Macbeth’s character begins in the transition from the introduction of the play to the rising action, when he goes from a loyal solider to a traitorous murderer by killing King Duncan. At the end of the first act Macbeth is contemplating the advantages and disadvantages to killing Duncan. At this point in the play Macbeth is still loyal to the king; “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself.” (I,vii, 13-16). In other words, Duncan is Macbeth’s king and his guest, therefore Macbeth should be preventing murderers from reaching Duncan instead of murdering Duncan himself. At this point in the play Macbeth’s state of mind is confused, his hunger for power wants him to murder Duncan but his conscious goes against it. The fact that his couscous still goes against murder means the degeneration of his character has not begun, yet in the rising action this loyalty disappears. With Duncan on his way to Inverness Macbeth’s wife persuades Macbeth to follow through with the murder so that he can be King and live a wonderful life. It is at this point in the story that Macbeth under goes his start into his character degeneration. In a second soliloquy, after Macbeth has just been convinced by his wife to follow through with the murder, he see an imaginary dagger covered with blood. He feels that this is a sign that he should go through with the murdering of Duncan. His thirst for power then drives him to pull out his own dagger; “I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I...

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