Macbeth 17

Topics: Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id, Macbeth Pages: 2 (777 words) Published: January 12, 2009
Like Macbeth, it is common for us, as humans, to feel a sense of division within ourselves in all aspects of life. The “Father of Psychoanalysis”, Psychologist Sigmund Freud, believed the human being was composed of three parts; the Id, the Superego, and the Ego. As Freud’s theory of the human psyche was widely known, it is likely that Shakespeare’s Macbeth was influenced by this theory. Many believe that different characters were representations of these three components; however, in studying Macbeth it is evident that Shakespeare used only Macbeth and his internal struggles to illustrate Freud’s theory, and the effect of a flawed ego.

The id, according to Freud, represented innate desires such as hunger, sex, and anger. In looking at Macbeth one would assume that Lady Macbeth, being power-hungry as she was, would represent this component, however, these traits were evident in Macbeth himself. In Act II Macbeth’s Id drives him to kill Duncan and although his desire is shadowed by that of Lady Macbeth, ultimately he kills, demonstrating the part of Macbeth that is his Id. As the play progresses Macbeth’s Id becomes increasingly dominant. In act III, scene IV, Macbeth declares, “We are yet but young in deed,” foreshadowing that his most evil of actions are yet to come. The final act captures the essence of Freud’s idea of the id in Macbeth’s statement “While I see lives, the gashes do better upon them,” meaning that Macbeth was willing to harm any life that was in his way.

Masculinity is another symbol for the id throughout this play. Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth’s masculinity several times at one point asking, “are you a man?” She also uses manhood when convincing Macbeth to kill Duncan. Later, when Macbeth decides to have Banquo killed he uses masculinity to convince the murderers. He says, “ay, in the catalogue ye go for men/ As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs/Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept/ All by the name of dogs (actIII...
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