What are examples of when Macbeth had unfounded suspicions pertaining to people in Macbeth?When did he have any unfounded suspicions that others were exploiting, harming or deceiving him and a...

What are examples of when Macbeth had unfounded suspicions pertaining to people in Macbeth?

When did he have any unfounded suspicions that others were exploiting, harming or deceiving him and a preoccupation with unjustified doubts pertaining to the loyalty of friends or associates. I have to "prove" that he has a PPD, so I'd need examples of when he did and why.

I was thinking of choosing Banquo and Fleance as one of my examples. But would you say that his suspicions regarding them was unfounded? I mean, wasn't Fleance in line to be King?

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning your question about Shakespeare's Macbeth, I'm not sure if you can prove your opinion or not.  I don't know that Macbeth is overly suspicious.

I say this not because he doesn't take drastic steps to eliminate opposition, but because the steps he takes aren't motivated by suspicion as much as by self-protection and political maneuvering.

Take Fleance as an example.  Macbeth doesn't suspect Fleance of anything.  If Macbeth were overly paranoid or mentally ill in some way, he might.  But he doesn't.  He orders Fleance's death, because, as you say, the witches predict Banquo's heirs will be kings, and Fleance is Banquo's heir. 

Furthermore, if Macbeth suspects Banquo, he is correct.  Banquo does suspect Macbeth of treachery, and he also would like to see his heirs be kings--he just isn't willing to do what Macbeth does to make it happen.  But, whether Macbeth suspects Banquo or not, he orders him killed because Banquo knows about the predictions, and the predictions make Macbeth look guilty.  Macbeth ordering Banquo killed is, if you will, a preemptive strike. 

Finally, Macbeth does attack Macduff by ordering his family killed, because he suspects Macduff of plotting against him.  But, again, he is correct.  Macduff suspects Macbeth the minute he finds out that Macbeth killed the two grooms--the only potential witnesses to Duncan's assassination.  And Macduff, at least indirectly, makes his suspicions known by skipping Macbeth's coronation and his feast.  These actions are slights and insults to the king.  Plus, Macduff actually is plotting against Macbeth.  When Macduff's family is killed, he is in or at least on his way to England to join Malcolm against Macbeth.

Thus, like I mention, you might have a bit of trouble proving your thesis.