Disintegration In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Several forms of disintegration are evident in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. These forms of disintegration include marital disintegration, moral disintegration, and psychological disintegration. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is portrayed as a noble and loyal character who is defending his country against traitors and foreign invaders. However, as the play progresses, we see that his ambition and the prophecies made by the witches start to affect his morals, marital relationship, and state of mind.
In the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is very close. They are soul mates and have a lot of love for each other. Macbeth even tells Lady Macbeth about how the witches foretold that he would become king and how that he plans to murder Duncan to make the prophecy come true. However, Macbeth has his doubts about killing Duncan, because he believes it is wrong. Lady Macbeth realizes that Macbeth’s morals are too strong, and that she must convince Macbeth to let go of his morals before Macbeth would willingly kill Duncan. She does so by insulting him, and saying that she would kill a baby who was sucking on her breast, and that he is a coward for even having doubts about killing Duncan. However, this is only done out of love, as Lady Macbeth realizes that if she didn’t convince Macbeth to kill Duncan, Macbeth would never be able to satisfy his ambitions. As the story advances however, we see that their marital relationship is starting to fall apart. After Macbeth murdered Duncan, he wanted to murder Banquo as well because of the prophecy that Banquo’s son will become the king of Scotland. Unlike before, however, Macbeth does not tell Lady bout his plans to murder Banquo and Fleance. This is the first sign that their marital relationship is disintegrating. Whereas before, Macbeth would tell Lady Macbeth anything, he now doesn’t want Lady Macbeth to get involved with the murder of Banquo and Fleance. Another event which makes evident of the marital disintegration in Shakespeare’s Macbeth can be seen near the end of the play. Macbeth is told by Seyton that Lady Macbeth is dead. However, Macbeth seems to disregard this fact, only saying that she should have died at another time woman. Had this happened in the beginning of the novel, Macbeth would surely have cried and had remorse over the loss of his wife.
Another apparent form of disintegration in Shakespeare’s Macbeth is moral disintegration. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is fighting a battle against foreign invaders. He wins victoriously and is granted the title of Thane of Cawdor. Duncan, the king, bestows a lot of trust upon Macbeth, and Macbeth treats this trust with great respect. However, after hearing the prophecies that the witches make, and seeing one of them come true, Macbeth’s ambition starts to chip away at his sense of morals. At first, Macbeth is reluctant to murder his king. It is only until Lady Macbeth insults Macbeth and persuades him into murdering his king that he does this. Even after the murder, Macbeth feels so guilty that he cannot even put the murder weapon into his drunken servant’s hands. Lady Macbeth ends up finishing the deed for Macbeth. At this point of the story, Macbeth still has enough morals for him to feel guilty about murder. However, during a later part of the play, Macbeth ruthlessly orders murderers to attack and kill Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth realizes that since the two other prophecies made by the witches have come true. This means that the third prophecy will most likely come true, and Banquo’s son will become king. At this point, Macbeth’s ambition has almost completely taken over his sense of morals. In exchange for power, Macbeth orders the murder of his close friend Banquo. It isn’t until the later parts of the story, that we see Macbeth’s morals completely disintegrating. Macbeth orders murderers to assassinate Macduff’s family. In the beginning of the novel, Macbeth was a protector of his country. Macbeth was someone who was honorable and would fight to the death for his king. However, at this point, Macbeth’s thirst for power has lead him to give up all his morals. His morals have been disintegrated to such a point that he would order the murder of women and children without the slightest compunction.
The final form of disintegration observed is psychological disintegration. Throughout the story, several characters start to disintegrate psychologically. For example, Lady Macbeth is quite normal in the beginning of the play. However, due to all the murders that she was accomplice to, her guilt starts to disintegrate her state of mind. For example, in Act 5 Scene 1, a doctor is brought to Lady Macbeth to see about her sleepwalking problem. Lady Macbeth is under such stress that she has started to walk and talk in her sleep. She tries to wash off blood stains that aren’t there and reveals the evil deeds which she has committed. At the end of the play, a combination of Lady Macbeth’s mental state and guilty conscience leads to her suicide. Another character in the play that displays psychological disintegration is Macbeth. As with his spouse, Macbeth seems to be normal in the beginning of the play, but gradually seems to lose his mind. An example of this disintegration is when he sees Banquo’s ghost. This is obviously some kind of hallucination, as no one else is able to see the ghost. His guilty conscience has corrupted his mental state to a point where he can no longer distinguish between reality.
The three forms of disintegration are all partially related by their causes. Had Macbeth not listened to the witches, and served his king loyally, his morals would never have disintegrated, his wife would not have died, and he would not have lost his mind. However, because he chose ambition over his morals, all those forms of disintegration occurred. As stated by his soliloquy in Act 5 Scene 5, his life has become a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing. The several forms of disintegration has resulted in his life becoming nothing.