"Macbeth": Discuss the soliloquy in Act III, i. How does Shakespeare convey the change in Macbeth since the soliloquy in Act I, vii?

Essay by leow1537 June 2006

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Ambition is a quality that enables man to evolve physically, and spiritually. However, in Shakespeare's tragic play of "Macbeth", it is not just pure ambition the protagonist embodies: his ambition further develops into hubris, which ultimately leads to his demise. Perhaps, the most valid reason for why "Macbeth" is so tragic, is the fact that Macbeth, in the incipient stages of the play, is so innocent and unworldly, as Lady Macbeth describes him: "like th'innocent flower". However, upon hearing the witch's prophecies, his reputation is defiled as he steps into a realm of evil, and more tragically, finds that he has "in blood stepped in so far that should [he] wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er". As the play progresses, he becomes more of a "serpent", and two soliloquies in Act I, vii and Act III, i illustrate this gradual change.

In Act I, vii, we peek inside Macbeth's mind for the first time in the play through his first soliloquy.

At this point, the audience is curious to find out how he responds to the prophecy of the witches, and the seductions of his wife. In this soliloquy, he is yet, "th'innocent flower" and moreover, he displays his judiciousness as a brave warrior by contemplating the consequences of murdering the King: something Lady Macbeth does not bother to do in her attempt to convert her husband into a sinister character.

In addition, Shakespeare uses euphemism to give the impression that Macbeth is keeping the murder covert by avoiding using the actual word, 'murder'. Instead, he uses words such as "this blow" and "the deed" to camouflage the murder, even from his own conscience because it is so dreadful. The fact that he rationally calculates the consequences of his deed is evidence that he has made...