Macbeth: A Discussion of Banquo's Ghost Essay

1212 Words 5 Pages
In Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, the appearance of Banquo's ghost plays an important role. But it also leaves us to wonder if it is a sign of Macbeth's failing sanity, or an actual apparition appearing to frighten Macbeth. Closer examination shows evidence that this is indeed a figment of Macbeth's imagination. First, it is not the first, but the third, or arguably, the fourth time Macbeth has seen or heard was isn't there. His wife too, will have struggles along the same lines. In addition, it can be argued and demonstrated the Macbeth had lost his sanity before this point. And in a broader view, we see that the ghost of Banquo is treated much differently than ghosts used in Shakespeare's other works are.

Banquo's ghost appears
…show more content…
This sets the stage for other visions in two important ways. First, the fact that he suffers from them at all. Then, that they involve gore and are related to the murder which he is about to commit.

When Banquo does appear, Lady Macbeth also makes the connection. Says she of his claims of seeing a ghost, "This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, led you to Duncan." (III 4, ll. 62-63) This further establishes that there is a connection between the dagger and the ghost. The connection cannot be that they were sent from the same supernatural force, as the dagger encouraged murder, whereas the ghost was a source of punishment. Instead, the conclusion is drawn that both are imagined, and signs of Macbeth's unsteadiness of mind.

The next illusion which Macbeth endures is one of sound. Upon killing King Duncan, he begins to here a voice crying, "sleep no more!" and accusing him of his awful crime. (II 2, ll. 40-47) He claims the voice "cried unto all the house", yet no one but himself heard it. His wife questions him on the matter and concludes him to be "brainsickly." (II 2, ll. 48-50) Again, the illusion appears in connection with the murder. This time, it is a form of punishment, which his mind is inflicting on itself. No gore is present, as it is sound only, but the word murder is used again and again.

Later in the same scene, Macbeth experiences a problem that foreshadows the insanity of his

Related Documents