I want to discuss Macbeth's visions and hallucinations. What role do they play in the development of his character?

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jabo210's profile pic

jabo210 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The use of visions in Macbeth is first of all a very good stage technique which, like the soliloquy, allows the audience an insight into a character's mind (e.g. Lady Macbeth's troubled conscience as evidenced by the vision of blood on her hands, "Out, out damned spot;" Macbeth's vision of a "dagger of the mind").
Secondly, the visions also serve to show Macbeth's (and Lady Macbeth's) downfall. Macbeth sees a dagger, which becomes bloody; then he sees a ghost. The first vision is private. He is able to keep his thoughts hidden. The latter is public and his immediate court witness his troubled mind. He is able to dismiss the first -- indeed using that wonderful phrase to ask if the vision is a "dagger of the mind." He questions the vision. But when confronted with the vision of the ghost, he is unable to dismiss it willingly. It consumes him; he has fallen, and in a sense in the drama, there is no opportunity for redemption left him at that point.
The visions show Macbeth in relation to temptation and then in relation to sin entertained. He is able to withstand the temptation, and toy with it; but once having sinned, the consequence (and the vision) are irresistible.

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nonniec | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Macbeth's visions and hallucinations, in addition to foreshadowing subsequent events in the play, contribute to the development of Macbeth's avarice. He interprets the withces' predictions as supernatural approval for his becoming king. Then, he acts upon his interpretation of their predictions to continue the cycle of murder. Finally, the assurances that no one born of woman will defeat him and that he will be safe until Burnam woods mover to Dunsinane give him false security. The visions and hallucinations contribute to the Macbeth's downfall.

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mazza124 | Student | eNotes Newbie

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The development they play is firstly, when the first prophecy come true he wonders if he shall be king and thinks if fate has it is store then he shall, however, as the play goes on as he gets more conscience and his guilt plays on him he starts to see hallucinations whether these are visions are questionable

So at first he's quite he doesn't care to the extent, however over time he gets more guilty with all the murders which make him hallucinate and to the other charecters seems crazy as he's talking to himself quickly

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babybutterflyy | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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I want to discuss Macbeth's visions and hallucinations. What role do they play in the development of his character