The play Macbeth by Shakespeare builds a representation of how specific events and scenarios create a certain type of mental state for a person. The character Macbeth has shown on several occasions that he is an anxious and worrisome person. These specific traits as well as many others are exhibited in several scenes of the play where Macbeth seems unsure or worried about something. Macbeth’s reactions to Duncan’s death as well as his decision to keep Banquo’s murder a secret reveal Macbeth’s hesitance and concerning psychological state.
On several occasions throughout the play, Macbeth places himself in events that push him to do something he is ultimately not comfortable with.
One scene in particular, Duncan’s death, conveyed a series of Macbeth’s emotions and thoughts. Before making the decision to kill Duncan, he receives the original prophecy from the 3 witches saying that he is destined to become king, but to do so Duncan must be killed leaving Macbeth in a state of shock and confusion, stunned and unsure of what to do.
He debates the idea himself and initially decides not to kill Duncan, however Lady Macbeth intervenes and manipulates him to make him think that she knows what is best for him, leading Macbeth to follow through on Duncan’s murder. He tricks his mind into committing a crime to satisfy his thought of being king. Macbeth also reassured himself that the crime was okay to commit because the prophecy claimed that it was meant to be.
Immediately after murdering Duncan, Macbeth is overtaken with guilt and regret, once again proving that he is unsure with himself and his decisions.
As Macbeth is faced with all these feelings and emotions, it is revealed to the reader that he is not confident with his own decisions and was not as strong as he was perceived to be. As the play progresses, Macbeth uses Duncan’s death as a positive excuse for him to think he can rule any way he would like. He became tyrannical and conceited, fooling himself into believing that his recent obtainment of king allows himself to be okay with the murders he committed and treating everyone around him horribly. He took advantage of his power and used it negatively, leading himself to think that it was okay because the prophecy and Lady Macbeth told him to, even though he knew he was filled with guilt and anxiety within. As Macbeth tried to increase his power and limit outside influences, he began to make his own decisions rather than follow Lady Macbeth, thinking that he was now more powerful and smarter than everyone else. He made the decision to kill Banquo out of fear that he would lose his power and role as king. He felt threatened by the fact that someone could take what he took from someone else, second guessing himself and his securement of power.
Macbeth exemplifies the effect of circumstances can have on people’s sanity. Macbeth’s anxious and nervous personality creates a sense of apprehensiveness from his character. Throughout the play, Macbeth’s shift from fear and guilt to overbearing and tyrannical conveys to the reader how Macbeth easily allowed his emotions and the people around him to take over his decisions and thought process. As multiple scenes represent Macbeth’s psychological state, Shakespeare’s play formed ideas of guilt, anxiety, and tension that we learned affect a character’s well being .