In the tragic story of Macbeth, written by Shakespeare, the development of the main character and the change to evil were accompanied by a series of visions. These hallucinations were essential for the narrative, and they started with the dagger, which he saw before murdering King Duncan (Shakespeare 139). In this scene, Macbeth could only see it and could not touch it, and this vision indicated the beginning of this character’s obsession.
This hallucination was followed by the ghost of Banquo, and this episode contributed to the others’ understanding of Macbeth’s insanity. The king saw Banquo sitting in his place and started talking to him as if he was alone in the room (Shakespeare 177). It was the first case of him losing consciousness in public, but his reputation was not saved by the intervention of Lady Macbeth (Shakespeare 178). No one believed it was a momentary fit, and the guests were sure the king was sick.
The final vision of Macbeth happened when he decided to visit the witches, whose prophecy he followed. The first apparition he saw warned him to beware Macduff, and the second said, “None of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (Shakespeare 194). The third apparition claimed there was a threat from Great Birnam Wood, and it was followed by a parade of kings descended from Banquo (Shakespeare 195). These hallucinations marked the ultimate madness of Macbeth and his tragic end.
In conclusion, the significance of visions in Macbeth was conditional upon their connection to his emerging insanity and subsequent deeds. They depicted the way of the main character from a soldier to a murderer and played a significant role in his further decisions. The progression of visions, in turn, was presented in such a way that the vagueness of prophecy underpinned the ambitions of a sick man.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by A.R. Braunmuller, Cambridge University Press, 1997.