Macbeth Insanity Quotes

What are two quotes in Acts 4 & 5 that show how Macbeth has become insane, with an explanation of the quotes?

I need two quotes that prove Macbeth has become crazy in acts 4 and 5 for my essay and explain what they mean. Please and thank you!!!

1 Answer | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Macbeth does begin to slowly lose his mind in Act 3, when he murders Banquo and sees his ghost.  In Act 4, Macbeth goes to see with witches again.  This demonstrates that they are beginning to grab hold of his mind.  In Act 4, Scene 1, Macbeth tells the witches:

I conjure you, by that which you profess,

Howe'er you come to know it, answer me: (enotes etext p. 58)

It is a source of mental instability that he is so obsessed with the witches’ prophecies, and believes that they can tell him the future.  He then acts on what they tell him.

In Act 5, Scene 2, Macbeth refuses to believe the reports he has been getting of soldiers coming to Dunsinane.

Bring me no more reports; let them fly all!

Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane

I cannot taint with fear. (p. 80)

He believes that he is safe as long as the forest doesn’t move and Macduff was born of woman.  This is strange thinking and full of self-delusion.  It only gets worse as Lady Macbeth dies and things get harsh.  When he gets the news that there is an overwhelming force against him, he decides to go down fighting instead of cut his losses.

I'll fight, ’til from my bones my flesh be hack'd.

Give me my armor (p. 81)

He puts on his armor before it is needed.

Finally, his encounter with Young Siward, where he dismisses the lad as not born of woman, and his reaction to Macduff telling him he was “from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd” (p. 88) shows that Macbeth has really lost it.

 Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,

For it hath cow'd my better part of man!

And be these juggling fiends no more believed,

That palter with us in a double sense,

That keep the word of promise to our ear (25)

And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee. (p. 88)

So Macbeth has lost his mind as his greed and ambition got the better of him, and he allowed the witches to manipulate him.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,912 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question