Macbeth and Decartes

“The [fourth] cause of error is that we link our concepts with words which do not correspond accurately to things.”—Descartes
When Macbeth writes home to his wife to tell her about his promised station of becoming King, he tells her that he has learned by “the perfect’st report.” He calls it perfect, but it’s certainly not perfect in the sense of being a complete and thoroughly detailed blueprint of his future. The “weird sisters” don’t say when he will become King; they don’t say how, and they don’t even say who they are to begin with. The declaration that Macbeth “shalt be king hereafter,” consumes all his being, causing him to flee from reason, and attach ascension to perfection bypassing the unreliability of the witches incomplete foretelling sending Macbeth into high hope which he shares with his superfluously power-hungry wife.


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