Macbeth Analysis

Topics: Macbeth, Murder, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 3 (839 words) Published: March 5, 2009
1.An atmosphere of foreboding and horrors is built up in the act. Much of the horror is implicit in Macbeths dagger soliloquy in scene 1.

a)Why does Macbeth refer to the dagger as a fatal vision?Macbeth refers to the dagger as a fatal vision (II.i.36) because it foreshadows his deadly intent to kill King Duncan. Macbeth is obviously under great mental torment, which is the cause of his hallucination of the imaginary dagger. He imagines the dagger, covered with gouts of blood (II.i.46), leading him to Duncans room. This image shows Macbeths fatal ambition as he follows his desire (the dagger) to kill King Duncan with a dagger which will eventually be covered with King Duncans own blood.

b)What does he mean by a dagger of the mind? What is suggested by having Macbeth experience a hallucination at this moment, just before the murder?A dagger of the mind (II.i.38) suggests that the dagger is simply a figment of Macbeths imagination. Macbeth is hallucinating because his heat-oppressed brain (II.i.39) is deeply troubled by what he is about to do, and he is put under great emotional strain by his guilt and uneasiness over his murder act. The dagger he sees symbolizes his ambition to kill Duncan and to become king. The main purpose of this scene is to establish Macbeths transition from good to evil. At this point, he is facing a huge dilemma and is extremely confused, and unaware of his actions. He still has some good left in him and realizes that he is doing something wrong, but at the same time, his ambition continues to drive him forward and proceed with the murder. Macbeth is transforming from a strong, well respected general, to an evil murderer who will eventually become a hated king.

2.Skim through Act 2. Note who speaks in prose and who in verse. When are they speaking in verse and why might this be?In Act 2, the porter at Macbeths castle spoke in prose, while everyone else spoke in verse. Shakespeare uses prose for characters that are in the lower...

Bibliography: Adventures in English Literature. Shakespeare, William, Macbeth. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.
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