What We Learn About Imagination And Mental Illness In Macbeth Essay Examples
When one thinks about the definition of a creative person and a mentally ill person, the definitions are eerily similar. A creative person is a person that exercise’s their imagination more so than the average person. They see the world differently. An extremely imaginative person adds their own twists to things in everyday life making them unique and different. A mentally ill person likewise is a person who does not live in the same reality as the majority of people. The two tendencies are not mutually exclusive. A mentally ill person might also be very creative, but they are separated from the reality that the majority of people inhabit. The lesson of mental illness from Macbeth is that calling someone “mentally ill” is an easy label, but it misses the mark in terms of understanding what is actually going on in that person’s mind. What might be considered a creative an imaginative person in today’s time, might have been considered mentally ill during Shakespeare’s time.
One easy difference between an extremely imaginative person and a mentally ill person is that the mentally ill person is unable to understand the world from the perspective of other people. While a creative person is aware that their perceptions and thoughts differ in ways from less creative person, a mentally ill person might Macbeth is extremely witty, but it is up to the reader or the audience member to determine whether Macbeth is being witty or is suffering a disconnect between reality. There is a part in Act V when Macbeth tells a servant, “The devil damn thee black, though cream-faced loon! Where got’st though that goose look?” To which the servant replies, ten thousand, but is cut off by Macbeth to say, “Geese, villain?” (Shakespeare, V). My interpretation of this is that Macbeth, while angry, is being witty, but there is also an interpretation is that Macbeth is not really listening to the servant, because he is caught up in his own mind.
Many creative people who I know seem to often be so caught up in their own thoughts that they miss what is happening in the world around them. This makes sense, since imagination involves losing oneself in one’s own mind. This also goes along well with the theory that there is a connection between imagination/creativity and mental illness. It is possible that a person can go too far down that rabbit hole of being lost in their own thoughts and as a result miss what is occurring in the immediacy of their own surroundings.
Salvador Dali once said, “There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad” (Kaufman, n.p.). What he meant is that he shared many of the same tendencies of people who were accused of being mentally unstable. What Macbeth teaches us about a strong imagination and mental illness is that the more imaginative a person is, the more they risk living within their own mind instead of the world around them. The point at which imagination becomes mental illness is the point where the fantasies of the mind become so strong that they interfere with a person’s ability to see the world around them. Macbeth teaches us that imagination, coupled with ambition and a high rank can lead one to loose oneself in his or her own fantasies.
Shakespeare, William, and John Crowther. No Fear Shakespeare: Macbeth. NEW YORK: Spark, 2003. Print.
"The Real Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness | Beautiful Minds, Scientific American Blog Network." Scientific American Global RSS. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
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