How are disturbed characters presented in Act I, sc. 5 of Macbeth and Frankenstein?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In both works, disturbed characters are shown to be unable to emotionally connect to others.  There is a desire to appropriate the world in accordance to one's own subjectivity that prevents any full embrace of human contact.  The denial of human contact precludes any sort of perspective and feeds their sense of disturbance.  Victor fits this profile, as he sacrifices all emotional connections for the sake of his knowledge and his desire to appropriate the world through scientific inquiry.  For Victor, his quest causes him to neglect the emotional bonds of the family that supported him.  He isolates himself with the obsession of his inquiry.  He becomes disturbed because no one else is around him to act as a counterbalance.  Being disturbed is the result of the lack of emotional connection to anything other than ideas and objects used to appropriate the world in accordance to one's own subjectivity.

In Act I, sc. 5, Lady Macbeth is disturbed because she is obsessed with the drive for Macbeth to achieve power.  This quest for power cuts her off from any emotional connection to others and even sacrifices the emotional connection to her own sense of reason.  Her "unsex me" speech is an example of how her desire to appropriate her world in accordance to her own subjectivity has resulted in a disturbed characterization:

Come, you spririts
Thast tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood...

Such a notion shows how emotionally isolated Lady Macbeth has made herself with her obsession for power.  Her desire for her blood to be "thick" is simultaneous with her thinning of the bonds between others.  Lady Macbeth is so disturbed that she no longer embraces a connection with her husband, indicating that they will speak later and not about the dreadful and disturbed action that is to take place.  In both works, characters who are emotionally disturbed are driven with their desire for individual control of the world around them to such an extent that it cuts them off from others.  This lack of emotional connection is what perpetuates their disturbed nature and causes them more unhappiness.

Read the study guide:

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question