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Explore the importance of the first of Macbeths soliloquies showing how Shakespeare creates its dramatic and poetic power

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Explore the importance of the first of Macbeth's soliloquies showing how Shakespeare creates its dramatic and poetic power The soliloquies in Macbeth play a very important role in giving the audience an insight into what particular characters are thinking and the difference in views over the same subject. Allowing the audience to hear the inner thoughts of the character creates a bond between them and the character and also reveals hints of upcoming events and emotions. The first soliloquy in Shakespeare's Macbeth is of particular importance, firstly because it is the audience's first insight into Macbeth's mind. Macbeth finds himself fighting with his conscience over whether or not he should attempt to murder Duncan in order to become King. He creates an argument in which he debates the advantages and disadvantages of the assassination. ...read more.


The tone of this first section implies Macbeth is extremely worried and highly strung and therefore clearly shows his doubt and uncertainty about the task at hand. Shakespeare makes use of enjambments, pauses (i.e. commas and semi-colons) and caesuras to depict the chaos and disorder in Macbeth's mind. 'It were done quickly; if th' assassination// Could... consequence, and catch// with his surcease, success;' Macbeth cannot compose his thoughts logically- he is flustered. Another technique to expose the overanxious and ambivalent state Macbeth is in is through his use of repetition: 'If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well/ It were done quickly'. The second section of the argument is Macbeth's moral reasons - demonstrating the presence of a conscience within him. He first discusses the dishonourable trait of betrayal and the role he should play ('against his murderer shut the door') ...read more.


Any religious or heavenly suggestions are always accompanied by a negative comment; the angels are crying and a chalice is mentioned but it is a 'poison'd chalice' and therefore gives a dark tone to the section. This shows Macbeth believes that God and the angels would not be happy if Duncan was murdered. The quote 'plead like angels' supports this idea. Macbeth not only believes that God will be unhappy, but the country too and his imagination appears to run off as he describes 'tears shall drown the wind' because so many people would be upset by Duncan's death. At this point, Shakespeare reaches Macbeth's emotional climax of the poem and his imagination has completely taken over any practicality he had originally had. In conclusion to the soliloquy, he comes to a self-realisation that he is aiming to high ('vaulting ambition'). However, Macbeth does not come to a complete conclusion and is still indecisive as he is interrupted by Lady Macbeth, though he has almost decided against the murder by the end. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This piece is able to discuss how Macbeth's soliloquies are used in the first scenes. Yet, it is not always explicitly focused on the importance of them in creating drama. This could be easily achieved by adding a sentence or ...

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Response to the question

This piece is able to discuss how Macbeth's soliloquies are used in the first scenes. Yet, it is not always explicitly focused on the importance of them in creating drama. This could be easily achieved by adding a sentence or two after a quote is explained, showing how it makes the soliloquy an important feature when discussing Macbeth as a tragedy. When moving to GCSE, it is crucial that a clear focus is remained and the best way to do this is ending each paragraph which links back to the question.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is sound, yet the use and embedding of quotes could be done better. Some of the quotes, particularly in the third and forth paragraphs are too long. Short quotes which flow with the sentence enable higher-level analysis to be had. A better of example of this is the essay's fifth paragraph - this is more fluent, and as a result, the analysis is stronger. A key point which needs to be addressed with this essay is the lack of an audience response. When writing essays on plays, it is crucial to acknowledge that it is one in the essay. A good example would be to suggest the significance of Macbeth's soliloquies in making the audience empathise with his ideas (or the contrary). Without referencing an audience response, the question of dramatic effect is not explicitly being answered. Another key area to pick upon is that Macbeth is constructed by Shakespeare: Macbeth is not having an internal conflict, Shakespeare is constructing him to have an internal conflict. Although it is mentioned in parts, showing this understanding throughout this essay would strengthen it.

Quality of writing

This essay is written and structured well. The introduction and conclusion are concise, which allows the piece to go straight into analysis. It is nice to see an introduction answering the question rather than bolting on some context about the piece, and when it was written! The arguments seem logical. An area of improvement would be the consistency of quoting: sometimes it's in italics, sometimes with parentheses and sometimes not embedded.

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Reviewed by groat 03/02/2012

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