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With reference to the soliloquies, analyse Macbeth's mental deterioration.

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Introduction

With reference to the soliloquies, analyse the way Shakespeare portrays Macbeth's mental deterioration? Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth portrays how a once peaceful mind can be influenced by ones beliefs. The play was written at the time of the Jacobeans under the rule of James 1st, in which Shakespeare plays to his advantage. Shakespeare includes both contemporary events and the beliefs and obsessions of James 1st, which of course is what the play is built around, regicide and supernatural beliefs. The play captivates the audience into an intense life of a nobleman whose mind is corrupted by his own beliefs, as a result of this his mind disintegrates and it finally Shakespeare puts the audiences grief to an end with the death of Macbeth. Shakespeare, through Macbeth creates a metaphor describing his life after trespassing into the supernatural beliefs to be like a play, 'as happy prologues to the swelling act'. It states how Macbeth will not be leading his normal life, instead he will he have to act as someone he is not. ...read more.

Middle

Also Macbeth tells the audience how he 'should against his murderer shut the door, / Not bear the knife himself.' Macbeth nearing the end of the soliloquy explains 'ambition' to be the something that stops him from doing what is right. Another key sign of Macbeth's mental deterioration that becomes apparent is his liability to hallucinations. The first reference of this is his paranoia of what will happen in the future 'Present fears /Are less than horrible imaginings.' He shows how all his thoughts are taken away from the present but what will eventually happen to him after he commits mortal sins. He thinks of murdering Duncan even though he doesn't want which shows how his mind is weakening. Also reinforcing his liability to hallucinations is when he sees a floating 'dagger' before him, he cannot grasp it but he can still see it. This causes him to question himself and the dagger 'Art thou /A dagger of the mind' and 'mine eyes are made the fools o' th' other senses. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the soliloquies the descent of Macbeth's mind is easy to predict. At first Shakespeare creates a metaphor describing how Macbeth will have to act his life from now onwards if he were to commit regicide. Around this time he has only aired his view on the matter a few times, but as we progress gradually he cannot take the thought of his mind. Eventually Macbeth nearly persuades himself out of committing the mortal sin but then has visions of a floating dagger leading him towards Duncan's chamber. By now his mind cannot tell whether he is seeing things or it is a sign from the supernatural leading him astray. The last soliloquy depicts what is left of his noble character, nothing. He feels no emotions, no feeling for the death of his wife because he says he knew it was coming. All that takes up his mind is the idea of life; he questions life itself not knowing the reason for mankind's existence. Then he describes how the role he has not fulfilled the part he wanted to play in life. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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