Insanity In Macbeth And Wuthering Heights, By Emily Bronte

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9/19/12 Madness in Literature Several authors utilize the aspect of “madness” to emphasize a point, to warn of a maleficent force, or to simply entertain. Two such examples of this technique being used are “Macbeth,” by William Shakespeare, and “Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Bronte. Within these stories, one main character of each story, Macbeth and Catherine Earnshaw, respectively, undergoes a change in nature to become “mad.” The madness of the characters illustrates an argument for the “unnatural” impetus yielding “unnatural” results. In both of these two works, the impetus that leads to each character’s madness involves a deviation from their natural state or behavior that is never resolved, but instead is allowed to compound, causing…show more content…
Macbeth, a general in King Duncan’s army, is informed by three witches that he will be the Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, as well as the King of Scotland. As Macbeth had just led an army to defeat armies lead by the former Thane of Cawdor, the King honors Macbeth and names him the new Thane of Cawdor. The then skeptical Macbeth is convinced of the accuracy of the witches’ predictions, and informs his wife, Lady Macbeth of the turn of events. She then begins to envision her husband as the King of Scotland, and desires for him to succeed the king. To make this dream into a reality, she begins to plot the current king’s demise, and persuades her husband to take part in it. The two invite King Duncan and his first-born son to their castle, and attempt to murder both of them. The king perishes, but his son flees to England, leaving Macbeth to take the throne. In the following turn of events, Macbeth maintains his power of the throne through the murder of any individuals that the three witches foresee to be of any danger to him. Lady Macbeth commits suicide from the guilt of persuading her husband to murder the king, and Macbeth himself eventually perishes at the hands of Macduff, a man whose family had fallen victim to murderers after he had fled to England. In this play, Macbeth’s descent into madness is set into motion by the ambitions of his wife. It is Lady Macbeth who first persuades…show more content…
This reason is furthered by the fact that a main character is often the one depicted as transitioning to madness. The descent into madness, while often violent in its repercussions, is useful to illustrate a point that is described throughout the entirety of the story as the character’s mentality shifts. Both Shakespeare and Bronte use the descent into madness as a way to illustrate a certain point: the validity of remaining true and unyielding to one’s human nature. Once what is essentially one’s own person is ignored, that same individual begins to suffer more and more as the situation remains

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