Macbeth Analysis Essay Sample
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Macbeth Analysis Essay Sample
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 class, while using verse for characters that are nobles or in the upper class. The porter speaking in prose shows us that he is less important than the other characters such as Macbeth and Macduff.
3.Find all examples of dramatic irony in Act 2.
He have been in unusual pleasure, and/Sent forth great largess to your offices./This diamond he greets your wife withal,/By the name of the most kind hostess; and shut up/In meaningless content.(II.i.13-17) Duncan is giving a ring to Lady Macbeth as a gift for her hospitality. He does not know that Lady Macbeth will be one of his murderers.
I think not of them(II.i.21) Macbeth tells Banquo that he does not think of the witches, even though he thinks about them constantly and acts on their prophecies.
(II.iii.43-65) Macbeth lies to Lennox and Macduff by telling them that the king is still sleeping. Both Macduff and Lennox do not know that the king is already dead.
(II.iii.65-136) Macbeth and Lady Macbeth continued to lie to everyone and acted innocent about their deed. They were the ones who killed Duncan, but told everyone that Duncans servants were the ones responsible for the murder.
O gentle lady! (II.iii.87) Macduff referred to Lady Macbeth as a gentle lady, not knowing that she was the one who plotted the murder.
Those that Macbeth hath slain (II.iv.24). Malcolm and Donalbain, the kings two sons,/Are stoln away and fled, which put upon them/Suspicion of the deed (II.iv.25-27) Macduff believes that the two chamberlains were the murderers of King Duncan and also suspects that Malcolm and Donalbain were responsible, but he doesnt know that Macbeth is the real murderer.
4.Analyze Macbeths response to the murder.
After Macbeth murdered Duncan, he showed signs of regret. He is horrified by what he has done which is evident when compared his own bloody hands with the hangmans hands (II.ii.28). His inability to say amen (II.ii.29) shows that Macbeth is afraid to confess his sin to god, fearing that he will go to hell in doing so. Macbeths refusing to wash off the blood on his hands shows his believe that the crime which he has committed is so sinful, that it cannot be cleansed away. He is feeling so much guilt that simply washing his hands would solve nothing. Macbeth is so terrified of his deed that he refuses to return to the crime scene and replace the daggers. He hears a voice: Sleep no more!/Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep (II.ii.35-36). Sleeping is reserved for the innocent and is a persons most peaceful state. Since Macbeth had murdered Duncan, he has now lost his innocence and is plagued by evil, and thus, he is not able to sleep.
Adventures in English Literature. Shakespeare, William, Macbeth. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.