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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and their use of soliloquies and asides

thethingsyousay 1 / -  
Jul 20, 2010   #1
Please grade out of 20 - and discuss the use of standard English?

Comment on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and their use of soliliquoys and asides, how do these solilquoys and asides contribute to the structure of the play as a tragedy?

Macbeth illustrates a story of ambition, imagination and inner strength. Shakespeare involves extreme fantasy violence, and this is a clear example of a dramatic tragedy portrayed by the ornate design and pattern of the narrative. There is a high use of dramatic irony, and the use of asides and soliloquies show a separation towards the realistic dimension. Two strong, yet complex characters are introduced as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and witnessed throughout their tale is an extreme declining state of mind.

Macbeth is introduced as a savage warrior "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name-"(I.ii.16-19), he is a man of inner strength, ambition and loyalty. Clear to a Shakespearean tragedy, the audience becomes aware of a sense of unavoidable fate and a damnation of misfortune. Clearly demonstrated throughout the text is the complexity of Macbeth's mental state and a man portrayed at the beginning of the text, the strong, brave warrior slowly declines into a confused and easily persuaded person. Macbeth's radical decline begins when he is approached by the three witches, The Weird Sisters, who advise him their predictions will come true "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!" (I.iii.50). Macbeth already knows what he is to become prior to acting on the Witches outrages assumptions, and although the temptations are extremely powerful for him, he constantly battles with an internal struggle of right and wrong "This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good"(I.iii.129-130). Shakespeare illustrates the horror and nature of human identity "Shakes so my single state of man" (I.iii.149) and it is already obvious that Macbeth begins to feel reality has disappeared and fantasy is now real "And nothing is but what is not."(I.iii.141).

There is an emphasis on character development within the first and second act, displaying to the audience the characters true states of mind and motivations through the use of soliloquys and asides. Macbeths soliloquies enable the audience to experience and witness the opposing state of mind and conflict taking place within Macbeth and thus, gain an understanding of the reasons for his behaviour and decisions. The first soliloquy from Macbeth "if it is were done when tis done..." (I.Vii.32) portrays his rationality and sensibility, this sentence shows the audience that he is completely aware of what he is doing and the consequences of his actions; it also illustrates that his ambition is strong.

A growing interest and desire to know more is displayed by Macbeth in I.iii.69-77, in which Macbeth is asking questions, however barbaric The Weird Sisters accusations may be "Speak, I charge you!" He speaks of his intrigue about the witch's message and questions its moral ambiguity "If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me without my stir". This aside by Macbeth depicts his inner conflict quite clearly, as he isn't questioning the mystical aspect of the witches, but the ethical aspect of his unforseen actions, it almost seems that he is going to leave his ascend to kinship up to destiny. Macbeth's weakness is already clear as his interest in a darker, satanic side begins to develop and he begins to confront and question his own morals and the case of right and wrong "Let not light see my black and deep desires" (I.iiii.52). He questions the witches' predictions, through soliloquies and asides he addresses his inner turmoil and conflict, however, Macbeth's concerns never become a reality, and he finds a far greater interest in the metaphysical aspect of his apprehensions, which never seem to reach a worthwhile conclusion to act on, this displaying the importance of inner perceptions. The main characters in this play are continuously succumbing to the worst in themselves, and although they seem to know what fate lies ahead of them for each action, they are extremely over dramatized and begin to believe in their fantasy.

Shakespeare portrays Macbeth, through soliloquys and asides, as someone who is both absent minded and impulsive in his actions, however, witnessed at "This deed I'll do before this purpose cool" (IV.i.153) there is a true sense of ruthlessness through Macbeth for the audience, a sense of him being on a murderous high. Shakespeare gives Macbeth as much credit as himself, as someone who is witty, eloquent and articulate, and using this notion Macbeth becomes more of a tragedy due to Macbeth's irrational state of mind and his problematic solutions. The audience witnesses a barely recognisable Macbeth compared to the beginning of the play, and a diminished and powerless influencer, Lady Macbeth.

In Scene I, act V Lady Macbeths soliloquy showcases how Shakespeare develops character. Here, Lady Macbeth is introduced as immoral and cold hearted, her words "It is too full o th' milk of human kindness' (I.V.15) depicts her wickedness and lack of humanity. Is Lady Macbeth an evil corrupt woman who is willing to drag her husband through murder to become queen? or was she merely encouraging her strong minded husband to do what he was determine to do anyway?

Lady Macbeth is already questioning her husband's manhood, as she does not feel he will be able to complete the necessary task required to achieve greatness. Shown in scene I, act V her ambition and strength is far greater than Macbeth, and this is when she decides she will take it upon herself to make him do what she thinks will help them achieve greatness. It shows her manipulation, and Macbeth, succumbing to this, displays his weakness and lack of judgment. Lady Macbeth's character possesses a strong emphasis on gender stereotyping. She shows the idea that to be manly you have to embody aggressions, strength, and courage particularly when confronting death.

Lady Macbeth's words 'unsex me here' (I.V.39) shows her hoping to remove all her femininity, so that she is able to go through with the murder herself, she feels this is a males display of strength and in line 43 she is hoping that her femininity and humanity will not cause her to change her mind. Although she is determined not to show her humanity, it is very clear how quickly she goes from ruthless to insane and helpless "yet here's a spot" (V.i.31) depicts her humanity very well through hallucinations posing the question, did she really imbed the characteristics of a killer? Eventually this irrationality leads to her off stage suicide, suggested when Malcolm announces she died by "self and violent hands" (V.Viii.71). Lady Macbeth's influence on her husband is diminished quickly after her assistance in the killing of Duncan, and the only influence she has from then after-(onward) is to make sure everything is kept to themselves, this makes it seem as though she has not much of a role within Macbeth but is believed to be the main catalyst of this tragedy.

The Tragedy of Macbeth was written in a time of threat, and is viewed to be influenced by James I of England (1567-1625) as he encompasses the belief in the divine right of king; additionally some other relative references include the study of witchcraft and James's vast affection from his people as a fine King. Shakespeare continues to question political issues towards the divine right of Kings; Kings that are chosen by god, and the alternative, Kings that have unbalanced the moral order of hierarchy. It is seen as an extremely anti-Catholic play, which posed a lot of questions regarding the study of evil and acceptability of this play in society within this era.

Throughout Shakespeare's career he has always placed an emphasis on the balance of comedy through tragedy; in Macbeth there is a light hearted comedy woven in amongst the brutal tragedy which gives the play a sense of humanisation for its audience. It is this that makes Macbeth and other Shakespearean narratives seem almost eternal due to the appeal of human nature towards all generations. A common pattern seen in Tragedy is the audience sympathizing with the central character, the hero. The hero is admirable however flawed, yet capable of good and evil. This allows the audience to raise their own questions and come to their own final conclusions.

The use of soliloquys riddled throughout Macbeth allows the audience to understand the states of mind and humanises each character. The audience is allowed to see the regret that Macbeth feels as well as the moral confusion and inner turmoil experienced by Lady Macbeth. The initial Strength possessed by each character slowly diminishes as the audience can see their vulnerability and humanity throughout the play. Macbeth is imaginative and shows a constant struggle between life and death. Without these soliloquys and asides the audience could not possibly understand the thought process behind the scheming and plots, therefore, would have no way of knowing the inner struggles each character faces, which in turn have made this story a narrative of two heartless people who would do anything to achieve greatness. This aids the structure of the play immensely due to the tragic end of a hero which leaves the audience with a sense of disaster, yet feeling over all exaltation, a common pattern relating to the structure of a tragedy.

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