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Commentary on a passage from Macbeth

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Commentary on a passage from MACBETH This pivotal excerpt from Shakespeare's Macbeth presents several elements that are crucial to the play as a whole. In this passage, many major themes are portrayed, and additionally, a plethora of literary devices are used to further strengthen the vivid images and emotions Shakepeare aims to present to the audience. The extract also serves as a culminating point in the play as it marks the beginning of Macbeth's gradual downfall. Within his castle in Dunsinane, Macbeth blusteringly orders that banners be hung and boasts that his castle will successfully repel the enemy. A woman's cry is heard and Seyton exits to investigate, leaving Macbeth alone in the room to spew out his worries about the battle, expressing that he has "almost forgot the taste of fears," yet having as much fear as a man can bear. Seyton then re-enters to tell Macbeth that the queen has died. Given the great love between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, his response is peculiarly muted, but it leads swiftly into a speech of such pessimism and despair that the audience realizes how completely his wife's passing and the ruin of his power have undone Macbeth. ...read more.


Since Macbeth is absolutely positive that he will triumph in the battle, he puts on a act in front of Seyton, an air of confidence and arrogance, certain that they will, indeed, be victorious. However, when Seyton departs to inspect the cries, Macbeth frees himself of his feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. He expresses that he had "supped full with horrors." This discrepancy between appearance, the front Macbeth puts up in order to make Seyton believe that they will prevail, and reality, the timidity that Macbeth is going through internally, presents to the audience the idea that Macbeth may not be all that he seems. Guilt also plays a part in this situation as there is no doubt that Macbeth feels a little guilty about leading his men on about winning the battle, when inside he thinks something entirely different. At the news of his wife's death, the audience can also see the theme of guilt slowly creeping in. Through Macbeth's belief that "she should have died here after," the audience can sense a hint of guilt in his voice. It is almost as if he feels that he is indirectly responsible for Lady Macbeth's death, and that he could've stopped it. ...read more.


This passage is undeniably one of the most important scenes of the play, as it is the indication that Macbeth is slowly starting to weaken. I found that this excerpt gripped me in that Shakespeare used such vibrant language to portray the fervent emotions present in the scene. As a whole, Macbeth's soliloquy on his wife's death had the most impact on me. In the past scenes, the audience saw a side of Macbeth that really cared for his wife, however as stated in a previous paragraph, his response to her death in this extract is strangely subdued. As the theme of fate was portrayed through Macbeth's words, we see the gaffe Macbeth makes in being overconfident in regard to the battle, subsequently muting his reaction to the death of a loved one. However, the ambiguity of his emotions provokes sympathy from the audience, and it made me realize that Macbeth is just another human being, and that like everyone else, he cannot be perfect all the time. As a person, Macbeth will always have the ambition and determination that got him this far, but as King of Scotland, this excerpt implied with enormous clarity that his reign was soon to be over. English 2/Mr. Bellew's class ...read more.

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