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A detailed analysis of Macbeth's soliloquy to show how language illustrates change in character.

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A detailed analysis of Macbeth's soliloquy to show how language illustrates change in character. This Shakespearean tragedy displays the collapse of a central protagonist, Macbeth. The enhancement of his secret ambition by the illusions and manipulative Lady Macbeth enables him to murder King Duncan, Banquo and the innocent wife and children of Macduff. Hence, his 'overriding' ambition leads him to break all moral boundaries. The famous 'floating dagger' soliloquy (2:1: 49-73) contributes to his deterioration of character by way of the hallucinations. Through a detailed analysis of language, in this soliloquy, one is able to establish Macbeth's mental state and most importantly, his development from an ambivalent, noble man to a decisive tyrant. The end result of the 'floating dagger' soliloquy has an effect on the course of Macbeth's future. At the start of the 'floating dagger' soliloquy, Macbeth has partially changed in character. Although he is no longer the brave, heroic, loyal soldier he once was, Macbeth still considers the atrociousness of the evil deed he about to commit. ...read more.


He definitely realizes that murder is immoral and wrong. This realization is established by his queries, as he cannot identify which sense has betrayed him; is it a real dagger or a 'dagger of the mind, a false creation / Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain'? Towards the end of the soliloquy, Macbeth's confusion subsides and in turn, his decisiveness begins to emerge, as there is fearlessness in the language Shakespeare uses. The adjectives 'dark' and 'wicked' reinforce the notion that Macbeth is beginning to embody another persona. His confidence and manliness increases by the calling upon of the evil forces. He uses images of 'dead...witchcraft, Hecates offering...withered...wolf...Wicked'. These images are sinister, evil and describe his interpretation of the supernatural. The important thing to understand is that there is a definite change in emotion: ' Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead...' As it is night, half of the world is in darkness and everything appears to be dead. ...read more.


Macbeth's decision to murder the King at the end of the 'floating dagger' siloquy is confirmed in the succeeding soliloquy: ' For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind; For them, the gracious Duncan have I murdered...' The emergence of his decisiveness results in the unethical events that follow. Shakespeare's usage of the word 'gracious', in referring to Duncan, suggests that Macbeth feels guilty. Yet his decisiveness in maintaining on the murderous path does not subside, as a result of his regret and remorse. In conclusion, there is a huge contrast between the Macbeth who is ambivalent and uncertain to the Macbeth who is somewhat decisive in the path he requests to take. This contrast is established through the use of Shakespearean language. In the beginning of the 'dagger' soliloquy, Macbeth considers the enormity of the action he is about to commit and reflects on the deep consequences it will have on his own and Duncan's future. Although, his secret ambition is pricked, he still realizes the negativity of his evil thoughts. However, towards the end of the soliloquy, his ambition gets the better of him, thus he chooses a murderous path-a narrow path to inevitable hell. ...read more.

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