Lady Macbeth’s Hallucinations in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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Lady Macbeth’s Hallucinations in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

The essay explores Lady Macbeth’s hallucinations in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” analyzing their significance in the play. It discusses how these hallucinations represent her guilt, descent into madness, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. The piece also looks at the symbolic meaning of the blood on her hands and the metaphorical darkness that envelops her character as the play progresses. Additionally, PapersOwl presents more free essays samples linked to Lady Macbeth.

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The Role of Witches in Macbeth’s Rise and Fall

There are a lot of ideas, themes, and just overall major things in the story of Macbeth that make it what it is. But I’m only going to talk about some. One of the major roles in the story is the witches. They are the ones that tell Macbeth of his fate and what his future is to come. This is important because the witches are the ones to fault for all the destruction in the kingdom.

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They told Macbeth that he had nothing to worry about as long as he listened to them. They are the reason Macbeth kills the king in the first place. I believe that if Macbeth didn’t come in contact with the evil witches, he would still be alive and living happily. The witches are the rise and fall of Macbeth. That is the most important role in the story.

Fate, Ambition, and Deception

Fate is weird. Fate is what will happen in your future. It means that what happens in your life is not controllable. Fate ties into this story because it tells a story of Macbeth’s fate. The whole story is just about how he listens to the witches that claim he has a fate to be king. But I feel like he does not have fate, and he can do what he wishes. I think the witches made him blind to the truth and made him kill the king so he could bring the empire to destruction. He was led to kill the king by visions planted in his mind by the witches. So he fell under the illusion that his fate was to become king and be immortal, which never happened because he did die a terrible death.

Ambition is another role that takes a toll in this story. After Macbeth was told he would become king, he was taken over by ambition. Macbeth ignores tons of signs that might have alerted him of the witches’ shady capabilities. Banquo warns Macbeth to be careful of their predictions since evil will sometimes win people’s confidence with small truths, only to betray them more deeply in the future. But Macbeth is taken over by ambition and does not seem to listen and continues to listen to the witches and play as their little pawns and do their dirty bidding of destroying the empire. He truly seems to believe the witch’s lies about how he can not be harmed by anything born from women. But he still seems to have the need to kill more people that he says are threats to his throne.

Evil and the Transformation of Macbeth

Evil plays another big role in the story of Macbeth. I believe the definition of evil is the witches. They go out of their way to find someone to use to help them break down the empire. Evil takes over Macbeth and his mind. Macbeth comes to an evil part of his life. He goes and kills Banquo, who was once his close friend because he thought he was a threat to his throne. Then he goes out and kills one of his sons. Banquo’s last son flees. So Macbeth decides to kill his family. This makes Macduff mad. This proves that evil took over Macbeth’s mind and made him do things he probably would not have to do if he did not give in to what the witches said. He soon comes to realize that he is in danger and that he messed up when Macduff and his army arrive and when he finds out his wife is murdered.

Lady Macbeth: Villain or Victim and the Impact of Hallucinations

A big idea that we are interested in finding the truth is that we do not really know if Lady Macbeth is the villain or victim. She obviously has some interest in her husband becoming king and does have some fault in the killing of the king. Lady Macbeth is single-minded in her desire for true power. She has no loyalty and is driven by her own strong ambition, and is willing to manipulate and use her husband to get what she wants. She doesn’t want him to be king because she thinks he’d be a good ruler; she wants him to be king because she wants to be queen and have the power to do what she wishes. Lady Macbeth immediately accepts that murder is necessary to achieve her goals. However, while waiting for Macbeth to kill the king, she says that the king looks like her father. In that scene, she is showing herself as violent, but her lack of actions says something else. Maybe she would have killed the king if he didn’t look like her father. She was given the opportunity to kill the king, and she couldn’t go through with it. So is she an evil and ruthless villain, or is she harmless and a victim of her own ambition?

So another big part of the story was all the hallucinations. These hallucinations have a big part in symbolism in the course Macbeth takes. So visions and hallucinations keep showing up throughout the play and play as reminders of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s weaknesses but also the amount of blood spilled on their hands. When he is about to kill the king, Macbeth sees a dagger floating that is covered with blood and points toward the king’s chamber. I believe the dagger represents the bloody lifestyle that Macbeth will walk into. Later, he sees Banquo’s ghost sitting in a chair at Macbeth’s dinner, which reminds him that he murdered his friend. Lady Macbeth also eventually sees visions as she sleepwalks and believes that her hands are stained with blood. All of these hallucinations are caused by their guilt.


  1. Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth.” Edited by Kenneth Muir, Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2005.

  2. Jones, Glyn. “Macbeth: Ambition, Manipulation, and Guilt.” Shakespeare Studies, vol. 42, 2014, pp. 167-183.

  3. Clark, Sandra. “Fate and Free Will in Macbeth.” The Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal, vol. 32, no. 2, 2012, pp. 45-58.

  4. Brooks, Virginia. “The Symbolism of Hallucinations in Macbeth.” Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 2019, pp. 201-218.

  5. Wills, Garry. “The Role of Evil in Macbeth: A Psychological Analysis.” The Journal of Psychoanalytic Studies, vol. 15, 2016, pp. 85-99.

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Lady Macbeth's Hallucinations in Shakespeare's Macbeth. (2023, Aug 03). Retrieved from