In Macbeth Act IV scene 1, how is Macbeth isolated mentally, politically and socially?

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tripod250 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the course of the play, Macbeth deteriorates as a character. He plunges deeper and deeper into sin and manipulation. When Macbeth began making these poor choices, he began isolating himself from his wife, his friends, and himself. Overwhelming ambition can cause individuals to draw inward into isolation. In Act IV Scene 1, Macbeth is confronting the witches. He is tired of living in constant fear, and he wants answers no matter what the cost. At this point in the play, he has isolated himself from his wife and from the other nobles of Scotland. His isolation is clearly seen in this scene. As the witches reveal the prophecy, we as readers understand that he is isolated mentally. He is not thinking clearly. He is solely focused on himself and how he can maintain his kingship. He is also isolated politically. No one wants him to be king. The witches tell him that Banquo's descendants will become kings. This prophecy causes Macbeth even more distress, which causes him to further isolate himself politically. Finally, Macbeth is isolated socially. He stops sharing his plans with his wife. He doesn't want any advice from anyone. He says, "From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. And even now, To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done" (Act IV Scene 1). Essentially, Macbeth is saying "I am going to do what I want to do no matter what." This line of thinking caused him to be isolated socially. Act IV Scene 1 highlights just how far Macbeth has gone off the path.