Hallucinations In Macbeth Act 3

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Gifford Mellick Period 3 McInerney 10H During Act III Shakespeare uses the motif of Hallucinations to create the effect that Macbeth is mad. Macbeth is at his own banquet when he calls upon two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. While the murderers kill Banquo, Fleance manages to escape. Back at the banquet, Macbeth returns to the table to find the ghost of Banquo standing on his chair. Lady Macbeth is questioning Macbeth creating an impugning tone when she says: “why do you make such faces? When all’s done/ you look but upon a stool.” The words “make such faces” implies that Lady Macbeth thinks Macbeth has a choice to see “such” things as the ghost. The phrase “but upon a stool” has ironic ambiguity in the fact that to everyone in the banquet the stool is nothing but a stool. However, to Macbeth what’s on the stool is everything, his conscience and what is controlling his life is on the stool. The ghost of Banquo leaves, and then re-appears. Lady Macbeth tries to divert the attention form Macbeth as he sees the ghost again. Lady Macbeth asks the guests to leave. Talking about Banquo’s ghost Macbeth says: “Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble” (III,iv,102). The Phrase “any shape” means that Macbeth would rather see even the fiercest of animals than see the ghost of Banquo, further telling us that he is being driven maniacal by his own thoughts. “my firm nerves” is ironic because his nerves are not even close to being firm at all, in fact his nerves are the farthest thing from firm if he is hallucinating a ghost in the first place. Shakespeare’s use of hallucinations and irony in act III creates the tone that Macbeth has truly gone

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