What is Macbeth's state of mind before and after killing Duncan?

Before he kills Duncan, Macbeth's state of mind is ambitious because he wants to become king, but he shows hesitation to act. He is more passive than Lady Macbeth, who has to convince him to usurp the throne. Following the murder of Duncan, Macbeth becomes increasingly unstable. His guilt about killing a friend and paranoia about maintaining the throne lead him to madness, which also makes him ruthless and bloodthirsty.

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Before killing Duncan, Macbeth experiences conflicting feelings about assassinating the king. Although Macbeth desires to become King of Scotland and entertains the idea of murdering Duncan, he recognizes that Duncan does not deserve to die and understands that there will be consequences attached to his actions. Macbeth fears retribution...

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Before killing Duncan, Macbeth experiences conflicting feelings about assassinating the king. Although Macbeth desires to become King of Scotland and entertains the idea of murdering Duncan, he recognizes that Duncan does not deserve to die and understands that there will be consequences attached to his actions. Macbeth fears retribution and expresses his concerns in act 1, scene 7 by saying,

If the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague th’ inventor (Shakespeare, 1.7.2–10).

After Macbeth lists several logical reasons as to why he should not murder Duncan, he admits that his "Vaulting ambition" is his only driving force and decides to put an end to the plot. However, Lady Macbeth insults his manhood and convinces him to commit the violent crime.

In act 2, scene 2, Macbeth exits Duncan's chamber holding the bloody daggers and is visibly shaken. Macbeth reveals that he is mentally disturbed when he tells Lady Macbeth that he heard Duncan's servants say, "Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep." He also struggles to compose himself and regrets committing the awful crime. Macbeth even refuses to re-enter Duncan's chamber, and Lady Macbeth is forced to replace the daggers.

Macbeth's state of mind is clearly disrupted following King Duncan's assassination. He is filled with remorse and regrets taking the king's life. As he looks down at his hands, Macbeth says,

Whence is that knocking?
How is ’t with me when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red (Shakespeare, 2.2.71–76).

After Macbeth murders King Duncan, he becomes emotionally unstable and begins to act paranoid and irrational. The guilt, remorse, and anxiety that Macbeth experiences after assassinating the king is the catalyst that leads to his demise.

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After Macbeth receives his prophecy from the Three Witches, he becomes enamored with the idea of one day becoming king. He recognizes his ambitious nature and feels terrible about his thoughts of committing regicide. After contemplating the consequences of murdering King Duncan, Macbeth decides against his ambitious nature and chooses to not kill the king. Macbeth's mental state before murdering King Duncan could be described as anxious and somewhat confused. Macbeth understands that he wants to become king, but he is initially unwilling to murder King Duncan to take the title. Unfortunately, Lady Macbeth persuades her husband into committing regicide.

Following Duncan's murder, Macbeth becomes overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety. Macbeth immediately begins to experience auditory hallucinations following the murder and has difficulty concealing his emotions. In order to secure his throne, Macbeth orders the murders of Banquo and Fleance, as well as Macduff's entire family. Macbeth begins to lose sleep and even sees Banquo's ghost during a banquet feast. Macbeth gradually becomes a tyrant as his mental state declines. He becomes a bloodthirsty, unsympathetic ruler, who is overconfident in his abilities to retain his title as king. By the end of the play, Macbeth is an isolated, defeated tyrant, who cannot defend his throne. Macbeth accepts his unfortunate fate and dies at the hands of Macduff.

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In the play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth and the witches have wound her husband up into a frenzy of ambition and desire for power. Before killing Duncan, he is more motivated by these desires than by a desire to kill or murder for it's own sake. He has nothing against Duncan other than that he stands in his way of getting those things. By the time he is ready to do the dirty deed and actually kill Duncan, he has retreated into himself and become obsessed with one idea alone. We call this becoming fixated. His fixedness pushes everything else away. He pushes every thing and every one else out - including his wife Lady macbeth. He has become unreachable by reason or moral thought and his relationship with his wife has changed - they are no longer a couple - and he takes over the momentum alone.

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Before Macbeth kills Duncan, the king, he is nervous and already feels guilty.  You can best see this in the part (in Act II, Scene 1) where he has the vision of the bloody dagger.  This clearly shows that he is uncertain about what he is about to do.

After he actually kills Duncan (Act II, Scene 2), he feels even more guilty.  He believes that he has heard people accusing him of murder.  He also finds that he cannot speak the word "amen" when he tries to pray.  Both of these show the depth of his guilt.

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We can only make assumptions on Macbeth's true state of mind before the killings because we do not have much time before the witches prophecies to observe his manner. But based on the information that he was a general in the army and had good friends like Banquo, it can be seen that he at least appeared to be stable and capable. He enjoyed recognition for his success on the battlefield, and this was most likely not the only time this has happened. To maintain this level of success, he would have had to function in a stable fashion.

After the killing, Macbeth loses any semblance of control and stability. Guilt causes him to be sleepless, and panic causes him to continue his murdering habits. He clearly is not capable of rational thought, as is evidenced by his killing of Macduff's family.

His downward spiral began with the witches prophecy, yet, it could be argued that he always harbored his dark side, and had just been able to keep it in check. It seems debatable that Lady Macbeth was able to turn him into the man he became. Yes, she made the decision that Duncan must die, but he had to have wanted that as well to go along with it.

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