The Psychology of Murder in Macbeth and Hamlet

?In the Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Macbeth, murder and suicide are both prominent matters. Although the human brain is embedded with empathy, love and compassion, certain circumstances in each play are disruptive to the natural order of certain character’s thoughts throughout the play. When a mind becomes corrupt, it can change quickly from peaceful to violent. This is the case more specifically for Macbeth, Hamlet, Lady Macbeth and Ophelia. Whether it is to become king, avenge one’s father or leave this painful world behind, these plays display how a set of unfortunate circumstances can influence a person to become suicidal or even a murderer. The two plays reveal that the desire or drive to have power and revenge, it can deteriorate sanity. Throughout Hamlet and Macbeth, Macbeth, Hamlet, Lady Macbeth and Ophelia undergo a series of psychological processes that ultimately leads them to a decision if they are to end their own or the lives of another.

Macbeth is faced with the challenging realization that the only way he can become king is to commit murder. Macbeth begins as a seemingly level-minded character. It is not until the witches’ prophecies and his wife’s influence that his morality becomes clouded. Ultimately, Macbeth goes through with committing murder. His mind goes through a series of psychological processes before and after he commits his murderous crimes.While thinking about murdering Duncan, Macbeth says,

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“That but this blow

Might be the be-all and the end-all-here,

But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,

We’ld jump the life to come” (1.7.4-7)

Macbeth knows that he must commit this crime to become king, yet he does not want to face the consequences of it. His mindset during his speech is confused. He does not want to live with the guilt of murder, yet he does want to become the king. King Duncan is a good and respectable king, yet his life is taken away out of Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s des…