This extract is from act one scene seven. This is when Macbeth gives his soliloquy on stage, right after Duncan arrives and is invited into their house by Lady Macbeth. The setting is still in Macbeth’s castle at Inverness. He is confused as to whether to kill Duncan or not.
This scene is mainly about Macbeth giving his soliloquy where he shows his dilemma on whether he should kill Duncan or not. His wife Lady Macbeth accuses Macbeth of being a coward and that she herself would want to kill Duncan or at least pass on her evil ideas to Macbeth. Macbeth feels very emotional about killing Duncan as he feels that they are kinsmen and that Duncan has high regard for Macbeth. He is also doubtful that they might be caught in the process and that they will be in a worse off situation. Lady Macbeth brainwashes him and at last gets him to listen to her.
There is a main theme in this scene that is that whether Macbeth should kill or not kill his king Duncan, who also happened to be his guest. Macbeth’s conscience comes over him and he feels that he should not commit this horrendous deed while his wife teases him about his weakness and cowardice. This is when Macbeth decides once in for all that he will kill Duncan as Macbeth has nothing to argue with Lady Macbeth so he listens to her.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is very strong. Macbeth is a very weak and cowardice man when compared to his wife as she is outgoing and is very strong. Macbeth is a brave and strong warrior but his emotions and his conscience make him very weak and frail. This causes him to have doubts on whether he should kill his king or not.
There is a lot of imagery in this scene of the play. First there is all the dark imagery which portrays the evil in the book. There is also Macbeth’s ambition which is portrayed as a horse in the statement “Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself”. There is also some child imagery in the line “And pity, like a naked newborn babe”. There is once again the reversal of values in the last line “False face must hide what the false heart doth know”.
The dramatic effect in this scene is very high as in most of the other scenes. There is a heightened suspense of whether Macbeth will choose to kill Duncan or not. The audience is made to believe that Macbeth will not kill Duncan, but Lady Macbeth brainwashes Macbeth towards the end and he decides to kill Duncan and take the throne.
This scene should be enacted on a very dark and gloomy setting where there is a lot of echo. This gives the audience the effect of evil in the set. If this scene is performed well the audience will be struck by the seriousness and the suspense of the scene.
This scene is very important in the whole play as this scene shows the faithfulness of Macbeth towards Duncan. This scene also shows the good side of Macbeth. The audience is shown that Lady Macbeth was one of the main motives behind pushing Macbeth towards murdering Duncan.
Analysis of Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 7Get Your
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De Schotse Koning “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter,”( I. 3. 53). Macbeth, infamously known as ‘that Scottish play’, was written by Shakespeare in 1606. It was not only a contemporary adaptation of the Prince, by Machiavelli, but the play also served to strengthen James I claim to the throne. In Macbeth, our hero of the same name has an unquenchable thirst for power that leads him to his downfall. The audience is privy to Macbeth’s mental evolution as they witness his transition into a tyrant.
The seventh scene of the first act is the first example of active rhetoric, on behalf of Lady Macbeth, to sway Macbeth towards killing his cousin, Duncan. In this scene Macbeth and Lady Macbeth make use of rhetorical devices as they attempt to persuade one another towards their constitution. Macbeth uses an uncertain tone during his discussion with his conscious and syllogism when solidifying his rationale while Lady Macbeth counters with invective language to emasculate Macbeth and sarcasm to ruin his self-esteem. Macbeth is caught in a conundrum.
At this moment he has been prophesized to be King by witches, and tasked by his ambitious wife to commit murder against his loyal and virtuous cousin Duncan, and assume the throne. Macbeth begins his argument internally as evidenced not only by his aside but by the tone he uses. Macbeth’s sentiment towards the assassination plot is conflicted due to his unwillingness to wholly commit to the murder. “… but this blow might be the end-all and the be-all here, but here, upon this bank and shoal of time, we’d jump the life to come,” (I. . 4-7). Macbeth repeatedly uses the word “but” as he argues with himself on whether or not he should commit the murder. This uncertainty plagues his judgment and thus weakens his constitution to the point where he forces himself to design a permeable wall of decision. The aforementioned wall is created by Macbeth in the form of syllogism. The construction of this argument is convoluted which mirrors his state of mind and reveals the unstableness of the argument in Macbeth’s mind. He’s here in double trust, First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself,” (I. 7. 12-16). In this statement Macbeth affirms his relationship to Duncan and explains his trepidation for killing him citing his family ties and his allegiance to the King and his country. He proceeds to characterize how heinous the act would be since Duncan is a guest at his home and it is his duty to protect not harm his guests.
Macbeth does this to reduce the moral conflict with himself and to provide a basis for his attempt to halt the assassination. Culminating into Macbeth’s argument, ‘I am family, a subject, and a host. Family does not kill family, subjects do not kill kings, and hosts do not kill guests. Therefore I must not kill Duncan,’ and momentarily strengthening his position not to carry out the plot. However, Lady Macbeth, the foil to Macbeth’s moral conscious, has the intent of persuading her husband to kill Duncan despite his objections.
Lady Macbeth attempts to lure Macbeth to do her bidding because she is discontent with her role in society, even as a noblewoman, and sees this as an opportunity to take control of her life but also as a solution to her discomfort. Therefore Lady Macbeth unleashes on Macbeth a speech of unrivaled invective language which thoroughly emasculates Macbeth. “Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life and live a coward in thine own esteem, … like the poor cat I’ the’ adage? ,” (I. 7. 45-49).
Lady Macbeth in this excerpt directly challenges Macbeth’s constitution demanding that he honor his word or be forever regarded as a coward, she adds in the cat allusion to further humiliate him as cat can be an euphemism for possessing female anatomy. Macbeth is a revered and powerful warrior, but having his pride diminished by his wife to that extent fills him with anger which drives his decision to overrule his previously established constitution. “Prithee, peace. I dare do all that may become a man,”(I. 7. 50-51).
Lady Macbeth having completely ravaged Macbeth’s self-esteem and constitution further engages her husband to prevent his morals from intervening again. Lady Macbeth’s use of sarcasm is cruel when used upon an already weakened Macbeth yet is necessary to cement her prerogative in Macbeth who has shown a propensity for flip-flopping. “You would be so much more the man. Not time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both. They have made themselves, and that their fitness now does unmake you,” (I. 7. 57-62).
Lady Macbeth taunts her husband with his former resolve and sudden unwillingness to execute the deed. She acknowledges how eager he was at the wrong time and how feeble he is under perfect conditions for such an act. With Macbeth’s inner conflict countered and complete absence of self-esteem and fortitude he accepts her vitriol without rebuttal. This failure and appeasement showcases Lady Macbeth’s victory in convincing Macbeth to murder Duncan. Macbeth, in this scene, attempted to recant his earlier inclinations to murder Duncan by designing fortifications for his arguments mainly with syllogism.
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Macbeth struggled with his “good” side versus his “bad” side and the result was a fragile foundation for his stance on the matter. Lady Macbeth through invective language and sarcasm wove together a punishing argument that easily penetrated Macbeth’s morality and swayed his opinion. The scene fades with Macbeth suddenly eager to murder his cousin fueled by the maleficent rhetorical language of Lady Macbeth. Works Cited 1) Shakespeare, William. “Act I, Scene 7. ” Macbeth: FOLGER Shakespeare Library. New York: Washington Square, 1992. 39-45. Print.
Author: Michelle Kivett
Analysis of Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 7
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