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Macbeth Soliloquy Analysis

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With reference to the soliloquies, analyse the way Shakespeare portrays Macbeth's mental deterioration Over the course of Shakespeare's Jacobean play Macbeth; Macbeth's mind deteriorates greatly, the play showing how our thoughts and feelings can be affected by greed, temptation anxiety and guilt. Shakespeare's portrayal of Macbeths incorporates and reflects many Jacobean beliefs about the nature of sin and the natural order of the universe, for example, the idea that anyone who committed the ultimate crime - the murder of a king - would be summoned to eternal damnation. It could be argued that Macbeth's mental deterioration stems from his refusal to live by God's will. During the play Shakespeare uses soliloquies to reveal to the audience Macbeth's mental state and character. With each soliloquy, our understanding of Macbeth's mental decline becomes more detailed until, by the final scene of the play, we witness his tragic realisation of his own naivety and inability to control his fate. The third soliloquy (Act 2 Scene 1) is the first sign of Macbeth's mental deterioration. Macbeth is in a difficult situation at this time as he is deciding whether or not to murder Duncan. In the second line, "Come let me clutch thee" Shakespeare expresses Macbeth's desire to give in to temptation by using this command and that his anxiety is seizing his mind and making him follow the witches prophesies, although does not have the mental strength to commit murder. ...read more.


Shakespeare has Macbeth say "they placed a fruitless crown" to emphasise the fact that no son of Macbeth will ever become king and that if he does not go down in history then he has wasted his time and life. As well as having a "fruitless crown" he has a "barren sceptre". The use of the word "barren" emphasises the fact that he has no chance of conceiving a child as it associates with infertility and that part of him is incomplete without an heir to the throne. His anxiety is further shown when he says, "Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand". The word "wrench'd" emphasises that the line of royalty that Banquo's descendents will be in would have been removed from Macbeth without him having any chance of holding onto it. Macbeth then refers to "the gracious Duncan". This is portraying the fact that, although he is going to kill Duncan, he still admires him for his truthfulness and his loyalty to other members of high society. Shakespeare next has Macbeth say "Put rancours in the vessel of my peace" - the imagery here tells us that Macbeth's conscience is troubling him, the word "rancours" indicating bitterness and self-loathing. Macbeth is finally realising that there is no point in him being king if he does not have any descendents. As he does not have any descendents he is afraid that he will not be recognised in history and no one will ever recognise what feats he has had to undertake to gain such power. ...read more.


In this speech he has been looking back at his life as if it was irrelevant and was completely pointless as shown by "signifying nothing". The pain of Macbeth is emphasised by the pure despair and disheartenment of Macbeth. It shows that he has a very opposed state of mind. He is looking back at his life like it was a complete and utter waste of time and that this was his fate and was supposed to happen. His mind possesses no control over him anymore and Macbeth knows that his end is near. Macbeth's mental despair is suggested by his language. For example, man is "a fool", and "a poor player". Throughout the play Shakespeare portrays Macbeth's mental deterioration and character very well. Macbeths mind is constantly fixated on what is not true and when the witches delivered his prophesies he has been somewhat overly optimistic with what the outcome may be. Shakespeare uses techniques such as using caesurae and iambic pentameters which suggest possibility and that Macbeth is not very susceptible to change. In Jacobean times the play was a display of what would happen if you went against the will of God. Macbeth is a mind subject to much susceptibility in the play. He foresees his own destruction and he still cannot be persuaded not to commit murder or any other devilish practises. The play is a forecast of what happens if you commit what is morally wrong. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anthony St.John-Bond The Judd School ~ 1 ~ ...read more.

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