In the play Macbeth, hallucinations are often utilized by Shakespeare as a reminder of man's evil deeds. Macbeth first begins to hallucinate as the murder of Duncan approaches. The hallucinations are a reminder of what Macbeth may do next. Macbeth ignores the hallucination of the dagger as to not feel uneasiness about the murder. The hallucinations persist as Macbeth spots Banquo's ghost, just after he had him murdered. Macbeth continues down the bloody road that he embarked on after killing Duncan. The hallucinations continue to occur, not only in Macbeth, but in the only other person directly involved in the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth. Despite not committing the murder with her own hands, Lady Macbeth is still faced with guilt as she begins to encounter hallucinations. In Macbeth, Shakespeare utilizes hallucinations to foreshadow the tragic demise that awaits both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth, encounters the bloody dagger as a symbol of the dark path he is about to embark on. Macbeth becomes filled with fear and anxiety as his task to kill Duncan approaches. Macbeth, like Lady Macbeth, wishes to get the murder over with as soon as possible and without having to think much of what he is about to accomplish. Anxiety overrides Macbeth as he begins to hallucinate, "Is this a dagger which I see before me? The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!" (2.1.33-34). Macbeth reaches to grab the dagger, symbolizing his readiness to murder Duncan. Shakespeare places the dagger before Macbeth as a test to see Macbeth's willingness to follow the dark road that would follow Duncan's murder. Macbeth becomes assured that he wants to follow this path that would eventually lead to his demise, Macbeth becomes fully aware of the daggers meaning. He is not fazed about not being able to grasp the dagger. Instead Macbeth continues to accept the fact that he will murder Duncan without thinking twice, "Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going.