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Trace the degeneration of Macbeth by close analysis of his soliloquies

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Trace the degeneration of Macbeth by close analysis of his soliloquies Macbeth is one of Shakespeare?s greatest tragedies. It revolves around the main character Macbeth who is a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a person who begins being praised for their brave and heroic actions, but then by an error of judgement or a flaw they bring about their own destruction or degeneration. In the play this is exactly what happens to Macbeth. One of the reasons the play ends in tragedy for him is he becomes too dependent on the witches predictions. The witches tell Macbeth he will be king. However, they do not tell him to murder the king to get there. Macbeth eventually becomes desperate to know more and more predictions. On the other hand, he does have the potential to be great, and starts of as being great, but he has one flaw: ambition. Because of this flaw, Macbeth degenerates from being a noble soldier to eventually being a murdering tyrant. Soliloquies are dramatic speeches which are spoken aloud by one character while they are alone (or while under the impression of being alone) on stage. Macbeth uses soliloquies in most of the important parts of the play. Soliloquies are very important in the play, because before Macbeth?s first murder he says False face must hide what the false heart doth know Act 1 Scene 7. This means he is putting on a mask; not showing his true feelings to anyone. Therefore, we do not know when or if he is telling the truth. Consequently, his soliloquies are very important points in the play where we can see what his true motives and thoughts are. Macbeth?s soliloquies enable us to plot his degeneration systematically. We can see how far he has fallen from one soliloquy to the next. Near the start of the play, Macbeth considers reasons whether or not to kill the king, and decides not to. ...read more.


When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth it was believed to be the worst crime anyone could commit was regicide, because the king was God?s representative on earth, kings have divine right. Therefore killing the king was the closest you could get to killing God. Macbeth says: First I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; Act 1 Scene 7 Macbeth?s next reason is that he is Duncan?s host; consequently he should protect his guests not kill them. as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door Act 1 Scene 7 Another reason Macbeth speaks of is of his king?s good qualities. Duncan is a good virtuous king, therefore why kill him? that his virtues Will plead like angels Act 1 Scene 7 Here Macbeth is using a simile. He says that the honourable things that Duncan has done will plead against the murder like angels- that Duncan doesn?t deserve to be killed. Macbeth?s last two reasons are religion and horror. A killer is damned to eternity, and killing is unnatural, not humane. Macbeth says: The deep damnation Act 1 Scene 7 and Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye Act 1 Scene 7 However Macbeth says his only reason to kill the king which he personifies: is his ambition Vaulting ambition which o`erleaps itself Act 1 Scene 7 Macbeth has not degenerated much since his last aside; he can still regain his former position, because he knows so many reasons why he shouldn?t murder Duncan. In the soliloquy, Macbeth uses euphemisms; he rarely speaks of the actual murder. I think he does this, because he thinks the deed is too horrible to even name. This shows at this stage he still has a conscience. Next Lady Macbeth enters. Macbeth tells her in a firm declarative: We will proceed no further in this business. Act 1 Scene 7 The quote shows that he won?t murder someone just for his wife. ...read more.


Next Macbeth hears the sound of a bell interrupting his soliloquy. Now Macbeth has morally declined to such an extent he believes the bell is inviting him to do the killing. He says: The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell. Act 2 Scene 1 Macbeth also thinks the bell is Duncan?s funeral bell, and is wondering if Duncan will be summoned to heaven or hell. It is horrific how Macbeth can associate the bell ringing to a murdering invitation or to a funeral bell. This shows how malevolent Macbeth is becoming, and that he knows exactly what he is doing, and exactly how wrong it is. This nevertheless does not stop him. Macbeth doesn?t seem to know the great degree of consequences that follow the murder. He doesn?t believe this murder will result in any more for example. When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, the king was very significant to the country. Kings were believed to have divine rights. This meant that kings were chosen by God, or Kings were Gods representative on earth. Consequently kings were considered to be very important, and therefore the biggest sin anyone could commit was to harm or kill the king. Killing the king was regarded as killing God, therefore committing this sin automatically resulted in immediate death, and going to hell. In Shakespearean times it was a massive event if the king was killed. Macbeth knows this and still goes to kill Duncan. This again shows how Macbeth deterioration is quickening. After Macbeth kills the king he thinks he has committed the worst crime that is possible; and is therefore eternally condemned to hell. As a result of this he believes that his soul cannot be recovered no matter what he does from this point onwards in the play. Additionally, as Macbeth thinks he condemned to hell, he believes now it does not matter what sin he commits. This belief leads Macbeth to his downfall in the rest of the play. Priya Thakrar 10B ...read more.

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