Hallucinations in Macneth

Topics: Macbeth, Thou, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 5 (1320 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Hallucinations
Throughout the whole play there’s a surreal/unreal atmosphere. It doesn’t only make us doubt what’s “foul” and what’s “fair”, it also makes it unclear whether certain visions in “Macbeth” are real or merely hallucinations. Hallucinations are supernatural symbols of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt, and they generally serve as a reminder of what they have done or are about to do. One of the most important hallucinations that occur in “Macbeth” is the floating dagger, which accompanies Macbeth as he goes to murder Duncan, King of Scotland. The vision of the dagger starts off by Macbeth speaking his famous words: “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” This is also a soliloquy, since it’s spoken in an interior monologue and is not directly addressed to the audience. Macbeth doesn’t believe that the floating dagger is real, since he can’t actually touch it, yet he still sees it. Macbeth even suggests himself that it might be a hallucination. (Act 2, scene 1, Lines 36-39)

“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 the heat-oppressèd brain?”
The dagger is covered with blood and it’s pointing like an arrow towards the king’s chamber. It’s clear that the dagger signals that something bad is about to happen and it also represent the point of no return, since it’s crucial to the whole story whether Macbeth succeeds in murdering Duncan or not. Furthermore, it’s a foreshadowing of chaos and disorder. Later on in the play, Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost sitting in his place at a big feast. Macbeth is paranoid and worried that he will be found out. The hallucination of Banquo’s ghost reminds him that he has murdered a former friend, and thereby reminding him of his guilt. Not only Macbeth is affected by what he and his wife have done, but also Lady Macbeth eventually gives in to hallucinations. As she sleepwalks, she believes that her hands are covered with blood, and it can’t be washed away no matter how much she tries. You could argue that Lady Macbeth has gone mad, and she is now – after being the strong character that keeps a cool head – filled with guilt and perhaps regret. Motif of Hallucinations in Macbeth's (Scenes 1-5 Act 1 scene 3 page 333 lines 39-47) How far is’t called to forres? What are these,

So withered, and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth.
And yet are on’t? Live you? Or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips. You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.
Banquo expresses the fact that he is not sure of the witches’ actual existence when he asks them whether they are alive or not and tells them that their appearances prove otherwise. He tells them that they all appear as women but their beards, their expressions, and their clothing support differently. The prophecies of the witches deal with Macbeth’s future as Thane and King, which could be proved to be imagined by Macbeth and Banquo.

(Act 2 scene 1 page 349 lines 33-43)
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee 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 the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshal’st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Macbeth’s hallucination of this dagger, his instrument for the murder, represents the bloody and difficult course in which Macbeth will be experiencing by killing King Duncan. (Act 3 Scene 4 Page 374-375 lines 70-74)

Prithee see there! ehold! look! lo! How say you?
Why, what care i? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury...
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