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The significance of the madness in Macbeth

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2. "Much madness is divinest Sense- To a discerning Eye-" Novelists and playwrights have often seen madness with a "discerning Eye." Select a novel or play covered this semster in which a character's apparent madness or irrational behavior plays an important role. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain what this delusion or eccentric behavior consists of and how it might be judged reasonable. Explain the significance of the "madness" to the work as a whole. In literature, madness is often used to represent the idea of self-destruction in a character as well as to suggest the chaos of the events experienced by these characters. In Macbeth, insanity is an important tool to reveal to readers the development of the characters primarily Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Madness functions as a support for the theme of the play, which is betrayal and guilt, as it places emphasis on the idea of disturbed mental state after the commitment of a sinful act. In this great piece of literature, Shakespeare expresses madness in two forms; troubled sleep and hallucination. ...read more.


This shows that Macbeth -after hearing the Banquo has been murdered- is overwhelmed with guilt and fears being taken revenged upon. Madness is a vital way used by Shakespeare to convey to readers the development Macbeth as he changes from a noble man to a sinful murderer who only becomes fearful and guilty from his deeds after committing the act. Similar to Macbeth, who only becomes guilty and fearful after being evil and violent, Lady Macbeth also evolves from being powerful and masculine to being weak and regretful. Lady Macbeth was first illustrated as an empowered wife with the ability to dictate her husband. She was the one who suggested the act of murdering King Duncan to Macbeth and she was also the one who manipulated him and convinced him to perform such sinful act. However, this dark and evil side of Lady Macbeth developed during the course of the play whereby she became weak and overwhelmed with guilt. This is conveyed through the idea of madness as she is unable to have restful sleep and sleepwalks instead. When Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, she talks as well. This is her subconscious self and it reveals her true thoughts and feelings. ...read more.


This is further suggested by the great decline and destruction that the Lady Macbeth and Macbeth face at the end of the play despite their strong and dominant portrayal at the beginning of the play. This decline and destruction is primarily aroused by the madness that took over their mental state, which is portrayed when both of them to have sleepless nights and frightful hallucinations. Thus, madness in this context is importance as a medium to convey to readers the moral lesson that is embedded in the play. Overall, madness plays a vital role in the play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare who strategically linked the idea of madness to two significant characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The theme of madness helped to reveal to readers the development of both the characters through presenting the characters with conflicts within themselves. The placement of hallucination and troubled sleep in the context is also strategic to function as a point that marks the shift and development of the character's power and courage. All these present readers with an ironic view of the character's development as they fall from being empowered to nothing, which conveys to readers the overall moral message of the piece - evil doings leads to nothing but self-destruction and downfall. ...read more.

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