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Explain how Shakespeare uses soliloquies to develop the character of Macbeth.

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English and English literature Coursework - Shakespeare 22/10/02 Explain how Shakespeare uses soliloquies to develop the character of Macbeth. Shakespeare uses soliloquies to give us an insight as to what Macbeth is thinking, it his un-edited thoughts and opinion that he is not saying to anyone else. As Shakespeare does not use a narrator who can explain what Macbeth really thinks, it is especially important for Macbeth that he uses soliloquies, as he is such a complex character, his entire personality changes throughout the course of the play. There are 7 important soliloquies that he uses in Macbeth, these allow us a window directly into his thoughts and emotions. Without them, we would only know as much as the other characters in the play who do not and are not meant to hear them The first soliloquy of importance comes straight after Macbeth hears the witches' predictions. This soliloquy shows that obviously, something is troubling Macbeth, there are two questions he asks himself about why he is feeling the way he does. After hearing the predictions that he is Thane of Cawdor and king to be, he believes that the second of these will come true as Ross and Angus arrive to announce the king's conference that Macbeth is the Thane of Cawdor. ...read more.


In the next soliloquy, Macbeth is preparing himself to commit the murder of Duncan. He starts off by having a vision of a dagger in front of his face, it twists in his hand and turns to point towards Duncan's camber. It then becomes bloody. 'Thou Marshall'st me in the way I was going, and such an instrument I was to use' Macbeth is talking here in the past tense, as though the plan no longer exists, this suggest he is unsure whether or not to do the deed. He then goes on to talk in the future tense 'And on thy blade and dungeon gouts of blood which was not so before'. He knows that this is what will happen and yet it is though he is caught between the present and the future tense 'I go and it is done'. Macbeth knows that commiting the murder is evil and Shakespeare chooses words such as 'Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtain'd slep. Witchcraft celebrates pale hecate's off'rings and with'd murder' These words all associate the murder with witchcraft and evilness. Macbeth is clearly ashamed of what he is going to do and he pities Duncan before he has killed him. ...read more.


At the start of the play, we see a Macbeth who is honourable and great. He has potential and ambition. Though his wife persuades him to murder the king after hearing of the prediction, when he is left alone, he persuades himself out of it after a long and deep thought where he questions his own plans. This suggests that Macbeth himself could have become great and honourable if it had not been for his wife. His soliloquies at the beginning are long, poetic and logical, as the play unfolds and Macbeth becomes maddened by murdering Duncan, they become shorter, and crude. Macbeth acts on instinct instead of thinking through his decisions. This may be because he has become toughened by his killings or that he has become king and believes he should have unquestionable authority. Immediately after becoming king, Macbeth feels he is owed more, he wants his children to be kings and thinks that it is pointless unless he can guarantee his family's future success. Later, he becomes exhausted with life, as though there is no point in life. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses lots of imagery to conduct the way Macbeth is feeling. These images show the furtiveness and tension of Macbeth. David Howe 11M ...read more.

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