Words of Wisdom:

"What you do in life echoes in eternity" - Gon_b


  • Date Submitted: 01/07/2012 05:03 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.3 
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Hallucination is an important motif for character development because it shows how the characters,
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, slowly go insane. Their decreasing mental state is easily told by their
various fits of hallucinations and visions. The first example of hallucinations occurs around Duncan’s
death. Macbeth believes that people are calling out in the night. He also sees a dagger in front of him in
II.i.33-39: "Is this a dagger which I see before me? The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch
thee. I have not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight, or art
thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from a heat-oppressed brain?" after
Macbeth commands the killing of Banquo, he sees Banquo's ghost sitting in his seat. This, like with the
dagger, shows his regret in killing others. He ends up embarrassing himself in front of a group of lords
whom he had invited to dinner. His wife tries to calm him, but in the end the lords are made to leave
early. Another example of hallucinations occurs at the end of Macbeth in Act Five. Lady Macbeth has
finally been overwhelmed by her guilt and is starting to walk and talk in her sleep in V.i.49-51. "Here's
the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!” This
means that Lady Macbeth is so caught up in her guilt, that it can't even be made better by expensive
perfumes. Eventually the guilt will lead to her suicide in Act V.. Macbeth's visions and hallucinations, in
addition to foreshadowing subsequent events in the play, contribute to the development of Macbeth's
avarice. He interprets the witches' predictions as supernatural approval for his becoming king. Then, he
acts upon his interpretation of their predictions to continue the cycle of murder. Finally, the assurances
that no one born of woman will defeat him and that he will be safe until Burnham woods...


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