Macbeth's Blame

By Jessica Buller

Macbeth's Character

It's nearly impossible to understand the outcome of a character if the character isn't first analyzed. In this case, studying Macbeth led to the conclusion that his actions were largely impacted by his brain malfunctioning. Based off of his actions in the play, he likely has a serious case of schizophrenia and, were he to take the PCL-R, a guide used by officials to test for psychopathy that exists today, would likely be classified as a psychopath. As far as schizophrenia goes, he provides more than enough evidence. The most obvious evidence is the auditory and visual hallucinations he experiences before and after killing Duncan (he hears cries claiming that he has killed sleep) and after killing Banquo (he sees and hears Banquo's "ghost"). Another easily matched symptom is delusions- Macbeth becomes highly paranoid of Banquo and his son to the point that he hires people to kill them. Other examples are disorganized speaking, unpredictable agitation, and a lack of emotion, which are all shown in the last act of the play, when he interacts with messengers and learns of his wife's death. As for being psychotic, he shows signs, even in the very beginning of the play. Even before he met the witches. The symptoms can be as follows: inflated notion of self-importance; patterns of deceit, manipulation, and lying; an ostensibly appealing social style; disregard for others' well-being; limited emotional responsiveness; impulsive behavior; pursuit of stimulating experiences; unrealistic life expectations. It sounds familiar.

The Downfall

The cause of Macbeth's downfall could be considered numerous things: greed, fate, pressure from his wife, etc. However, all those explanations overlook the major part of Macbeth that is his disorders. The cause of Macbeth's downfall is really because his brain did not function normally. Normal people can't slice someone from their bellybutton to their jaw and attach their head to a spear and be okay afterwards, as Macbeth seemed to be (1.2. 24-25). Normal people don't murder their first cousin on the off-chance that they will inherit something. (1.2. 26, 1.4. 44-45, 2.1. 71-73) Remember, Macbeth was promised no throne, and a successor had already been named. Macbeth didn't know he would get the crown. Also remember that in the time period of this play, no one knew anything about the human brain. Today, we still don't know much, but back then there were no medications for this, nor was there therapy, as is suggested by the doctor's uselessness. The disorder was dragging him down into a whole that kept getting bigger as a result of his clouded actions and reactions.

Macbeth's downfall was caused by his own mind.

Imagine Dragons - Bleeding Out {Lyrics}

Imagine Dragons- "Bleeding Out"

This song can represent Macbeth in so many ways. Here are a few:

  • "When the hour is night/ And hopelessness is sinking in/ And the wolves all cry/ To fill the night with horror and/ When your eyes are red/ And emptiness is all you know/ With the darkness fed/ I will be your scarecrow." This resembles Macbeth's reoccurring feelings of depression very strongly.
  • "Oh you tell me to hold on/ Oh you tell me to hold on/ But innocence is gone/ And what was right is wrong." This resembles the way Macbeth reacts to his wife's efforts to get him to just get it done and move on. No, he can't go to sleep after murdering Duncan. No, he won't stop killing more people.
  • "Cause I'm bleeding out/ So if the last thing that I do/ Is bring you down/ I'll bleed out for you." At the end of the play, once Macbeth learns that the "woods" are approaching the castle, he knows he will die. However, he's taking down anyone he can before it happens.