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What can be learned about the characters states of minds from the soliloquies in "Macbeth"?

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Introduction

What can be learned about the characters states of minds from the soliloquies in "Macbeth"? A soliloquy is a speech delivered by an actor who is onstage alone. Shakespeare delivers these soliloquies in the format of an actor/ess speaking as though no one else were present. However, in writing the work Shakespeare always intends the audience to overhear the speeches, thus providing a means of accessing the state of mind of the character. Soliloquies allow this to become possible without relying on strictly narrative tones. Macbeth delivers the first monologue after the witches' prediction has proved to be accurate. This speech highlights Macbeths one true fault, greed. When he begins to realise that the witches may have been correct about the title of 'Thane of Cawdor' being bestowed upon him. He realises other prophecies made by them could also bare some truth. The most obvious of these a promise of elevation to royal status. Macbeth begins "Two truths are told." He takes the witch's prophecies at face value and does not immediately see the danger lurking beneath the joviality of those witches' words. I think Shakespeare has done this so that the audience sees Macbeth blinded by the promise of greatness. His na�ve nature in this respect shows the first of his eminent weaknesses, also it provides Shakespeare's audience with the opportunity to witness the contrast between his thoughts and feelings and the image previously bestowed upon him. (That of a great warrior.) He sees the foretold story of his greatness as an introduction to his majestical journey. "As happy prologues," We see his entire life's course already being transposed by even the promise of greatness. He now sees his entire life before him as though like a play or a story on the theme of kingship. Shakespeare may have used this section as a means of introduction to his play, also it shows how ready Macbeth is to accept any indication of greatness. ...read more.

Middle

"First I am his kinsman" "His host... who against the murder should shut the door, not bear the knife myself." Macbeths feelings of remorse, over the crime which he has not yet committed, are worsened by the fact that he views Duncan with such stead. He feels that so great are the king's virtues they will proceed before him as if the most exalted and highest angels. He feels that the pity that would be bestowed upon the dead king would be so immense it would exceed all earthly powers. "His faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great offices, his virtues will plead like angels." He speaks of how the virtues of the king (smile-angels) will carry his guilt with them until every man can mix their grief (tears) with the evidence of his own guilt. "Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye." Macbeth himself has found his fault without which this tragedy would never have occurred, he realises that ambition is his driving force. The final sentence in this ironically contains a metaphor showing that his ambition will be the key to his destruction. "Vaulting ambition which O'er leaps itself." This shows that his ambition is like a horse that attempts to jump too high, or in Macbeths case goes too far, and consequently over leaps. This final sentence shows Macbeth is afraid his ambition is greater than his ability to achieve his goals. Throughout this siloquie one thing that remains constant is the fact that Macbeth does not want to be involved with the plot yet knows his ambition will prevent him from terminating it. Macbeths obvious doubt makes Lady Macbeths job far harder. During Act 2, scene 1 Macbeth begins to speak, he is in a fevered state and is incredibly anxious, this delusioned state is later repeated in Lady Macbeths sickroom. Macbeth speech serves to show this live audience all the horror that is to come in explicit detail. ...read more.

Conclusion

He now continues to talk of the thorn in his side, the fact that after eternal damnation he feels certain (because of the witches) that Banquos descendants shall gain from the loss of Macbeth. "Hail'd him father to a line of kings." "Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and barren sceptre in my gripe." He is still referring to the witches but is know speaking of his own misfortunate encounter with them. The witches promised Macbeth an instant crown and yet said nothing of the fact that it would be completely empty and fruitless. Nothing but sorrow will be coupled with his crown as it will be riddled with guilt and he will always be bound by the knowledge that he is responsible for his own demise. After this rueful time where he holds the crown no children of his can ever rule without guilt. The law at that time stated that the child of a monarch would follow it's parent in leadership meaning that either Macbeth was to be discovered or that he would father no children. After hearing of Macbeths death we know that the latter of the two were correct and fairly shortly after the deliverance of this speech he is to die. Macbeth was given this title but it has no long term relevance to him. He now can see that there was no point in killing Duncan because Banquo's children would benefit. Perhaps part of the reason that Macbeth kills Banquo so readily is that he is envious of his former friends long term profits. "Put a barren sceptre in my gripe." The pun in this, double meaning being no children is very effective as it would help to lighten the atmosphere around the stage. "Thence to be wrenche'd with unlineal hand" His title will be taken from him but not from someone in his clan. "For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind." For Banquo he has destroyed his mind not for himself. It is in the first sentence that we first actually hear him say the word "Murder". ...read more.

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