Macbeth: The Power of Influence and Manipulation

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Life Changing Decisions

The definition of influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something. Guilt is a feeling that can haunt the conscience, make one feel excessive remorse and in extreme conditions suffer from mental health issues. The play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare has the topics of influence, mental health and guilt throughout the play. The characters will be confronted by their decisions made which will eventually lead them to the destruction of their own fate.

Being influenced into doing something can result in changing one’s behavior, beliefs, emotions and character. It can have a positive or negative affect in one’s life. In the play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s influence, persuades and manipulates Macbeth into a downward spiral of clouded judgement. In this case, the play Macbeth, characters influence other characters to make choices. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are in their castle while King Duncan is spending the night. The plan is for Macbeth to kill Duncan, but Macbeth is having second thoughts. This is when Lady Macbeth says, “What cannot you and I perform upon/The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon” (i.7). Lady Macbeth rejects Macbeth’s choice to allow Duncan to live. She guarantees him that on the off chance that he can act with fortitude, their arrangement can’t fall flat. She discloses to Macbeth that once Duncan is asleep, she’ll get his servants so drunk that they drop. At that point she and Macbeth can execute Duncan and frame his servants for the slaughtering. When Macbeth second guesses killing the King, Lady Macbeth won’t hear of it and coaches him back to the dark side with powerful words, resulting in the death of Duncan.

Another big part of the play and the characters within it, is the mental health factor. In the play Macbeth, we are witness to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Postpartum Psychosis. Both are a mental disorder that can develop once someone has experienced a traumatic event. Systems can include, moodiness, racing thoughts, severe confusion, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, disturbing thoughts, feelings and dreams. Left untreated a person with these signs are at a higher risk of self-harm or suicide. In the play Macbeth, Macbeth is hallucinating when he realizes that a bloody dagger is floating in front of him. “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” (2.1. 44-47). The dagger anticipates Macbeth’s future way of blood and passing. Afterward, he swears that he hears voices state, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep’ (2.2. 47-48). The two occasions become the start of Macbeth’s inevitable mental weakening. Macbeth’s subsequent mental trip happens after he slaughters Banquo. He sees the ghost of Banquo. It obviously doesn’t exist since none of the other characters see the ghost.

MACBETH. The table’s full.

LENNOX. Here is a place reserved, sir.


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LENNOX. Here, my good lord. What is’t that moves your highness?

MACBETH. Which of you have done this? (3.4. 54-58)

Macbeth’s mental soundness gets faulty. He keeps hallucinating. He has murdered more than one individual, and he can’t rest. Macbeth’s guilt and mental state is gradually demolishing him. Macbeth goes on and attempts to keep his title as king. Macbeth sees mental trips, however, Lady Macbeth has experienced quite a few herself. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are struggling to keep a positive mindset and attitude throughout the play. The murders are messing with their heads. Their unstable mental state eventually brings them to a fault at the end of the play, because they can’t handle the stress. They just want it to be over and done with.

Lastly, in Macbeth there is a lot of guilt and regret. This just doesn’t happen to one of the characters once, it happens to them multiple times. Every character at some point in the play experienced guilt and the irony of regretting something that they truly believed was not right. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather/The multitudinous seas incarnadine” (2.2). Macbeth said this line when he experienced his better half, he runs into his wife after just finishing the killing of Duncan. He alludes to both the strict blood on his hand yet in addition to his feeling of guilt. He utilizes terrific and sensational language to suggest that the blood could recolor all the world’s seas red. His language suggests that the outcomes of his actions won’t be effectively covered up, even though Lady Macbeth later states that blood can be washed away. He will always be a changed man because of what he has done. Strangely, later in the play, Lady Macbeth will likewise daydream that she has blood on her hands and can’t get them clean, symbolizing her feeling of guilt. “To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, /come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done /cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed.” (5.1). Lady Macbeth says these lines after she has gone frantic. They are the last words she articulates in the play, and they uncover how blame has squashed her solid and confident character. She currently must be thought about like a youngster and has no designs for what’s to come. Regardless of her apologizes, her dirty deeds can’t be fixed.

“Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold/Thou hast no speculation in those eyes” (3.4). Macbeth said this line when Banquo’s ghost appeared to him at the dinner. Macbeth’s vision of the phantom uncovers his guilt over requesting the homicide of Banquo and his young child. His feeling of guilt is ground-breaking to the point that he loses his feeling of the real world and can’t be certain whether he is having a dream or not. He says these lines to promise himself that Banquo is genuinely dead. In doing as such, Macbeth uncovers that his tormented awareness is driving him to begin losing his grasp on rational soundness. Throughout the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, both feel the guilt and sorrow that comes with killing all those people. They brought it upon themselves to feel like this, because they weren’t thinking straight when they made these awful decisions.

Being influenced or persuaded by another can alter one’s mental state. Poor and bad decision making from clouded judgement can result in undeniable guilt. In the play Macbeth, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth experience guilt or remorse, are influenced to the point of no return and become insane. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are affected by guilt the most, after all the murders they have both committed it’s hard for them not to feel. Throughout the play, Macbeth also suffers from being influenced into doing acts. With Macbeth’s mind at an unmanageable state, Lady Macbeth, The Three Witches and Macbeth himself harvest that confusion making Macbeth believe that the wrong thing to do is right. The biggest player when it comes to persuading Macbeth is Lady Macbeth. She is always telling Macbeth what to do and how she wants it done. Her words to Macbeth are powerful, focusing on the future and somehow have a sense of urgency. Near the end of the play, Macbeth is under so much stress his anxiety gets the better of him. He decides to fight in a battle, where he meets his end. Due to Macbeth’s own doings regarding his undeniable thirst for power and status, all outcomes lead to this prophecy in the play for Macbeth. Macbeth was attacked by Macduff just as it was predicted that he was going to die. Macbeth should have never let anyone get in his head. In the play Macbeth, influence on top of guilt and mental illness played a crucial part in contributing to the eventual destruction of Macbeth.

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