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Macbeth - A Comparison between the main two soliloquys

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Macbeth: A Comparison between the two main soliloquies. The first time we meet Macbeth, is when he has just triumphed over the Norwegians. He is in the middle of nowhere, and meets the two Wyrd Sisters. Macbeth is a widely esteemed soldier, who fights bravely for his King and Country, and has no ambition. He is content with his lot, and happy to be supporting his King, who he greatly likes. He is a loyal Thane, the Thane of Glamis. He has a wife, Lady Macbeth, who later reveals herself as the dominating influence over Macbeth, and is very controlling. The first soliloquy that I am going to compare is very famous. It is the one in Act 1, Scene 7. It is the one that begins; "If it were done, when 'tis done..." At this point in time, Lady Macbeth has just 'suggested' to Macbeth that he should kill Duncan. This is after hearing the Wyrd Sisters' prediction. She has used her womanly ways to force Macbeth into saying yes, and he is now in a room, alone, pondering over the deed, discussing the merits and demerits: The first line of this soliloquy states that if he killed Duncan quickly, it would be all over, and Macbeth would sustain no damage from doing this deed. Besides, he thinks it is better for someone to die quickly rather than to live, and be hated. ...read more.


He does not think he will be punished in the next life, especially if there is no next life. Macbeth now imagines Time as a sandbank, and if he wanted, could avoid suffering retribution. He clearly states if he was offered a chance of a next life, he would refuse it; "...jump the life to come." He is pleased now he will be given no punishment, he can escape scot-free. Now Macbeth goes back into his doubts. He ponders over what will happen to him. Even though he thinks he can avoid divine retribution, he cannot avoid earthly retribution with ease... "...We'd still have judgement here; that we but teach/Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor..." 'Bloody' is yet another powerful word; this one suggesting that we only teach lessons that we should not have learnt ourselves, lessons in murder. He thinks no man should have learnt that, they are appalling. You will have, unwittingly, taught many men how to kill. Now more people are at risk. However, even when you think everyone has forgotten what you once did, they will come and haunt you again. They will plague you, never giving you a moment's peace, they will come when your resistance is low, and you will cry out in pain. Why does Macbeth use the word inventor? It shows us that he holds a certain respect for men who murder, as he knows he will be too 'weak' to murder Duncan; at least, without anyone cajoling him on the way. ...read more.


This is showing how much Macbeth respects Duncan, for he knows, were he not the murderer, he would be among them. Also, he thinks even the Gods must know how kind Duncan was, and will torment his murderer. He wants Duncan to die naturally, and so be able to mourn for him. Macbeth is now feeling sorry for himself, as he now knows he will have to do the deed, and has almost resigned himself to it. He cannot back out of what he has thought now. All Macbeth has now is ambition. He imagines himself on a horse, which only has ambition to play for. The horse aims too high (o'er-leaps itself) and falls on the other side of the fence. There is still much to play for, but failure is more in Macbeth's mind than succeeding. The next soliloquy takes place in Act 5, Scene 5. Macbeth has become King, but lost all his friends. He is surrounded by the English, alone in his castle. There are only a few people with him. He knows he cannot win, but remembers that no man of woman born can kill him (the second prediction). Seyton has just told him that his wife is dead, but could he care? Macbeth is now beginning to tire of life. He talks to himself, thinking out loud, it is known as. "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day..." Using the word 'tomorrow' three times makes it sound meaningless. ...read more.

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