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The Significance of Soliloquy in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Soliloquy in Shakespeare’s work allows us, as readers and/or as an audience, to dive in a character’s mind. It is that extra view that makes us see what the characters in Shakespeare’s work can’t see. In this particular soliloquy from Act III sc. 1 lines 48-72, we witness a sad soliloquy as it shows Macbeth’s growing detachment from humanity due to his guilt conscience that keeps coming back. The soliloquy shows he is never at peace ever since he broke the laws of nature but takes it a step further when he starts cutting ties with his close friend, Banquo who is known for his wisdom, and leads us to think what Macbeth could possibly do next.

The soliloquy starts with Macbeth’s reflection after he became king, ‘to be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.’ (Macbeth, Act III sc. 1 line 49-50) Macbeth acknowledges that being king is not what he thought it would be, he does not feel safe. This shows he has not fully thought of the consequences of his actions and what his actions could bring to him. His conscience is bothering him with the prophecy that stated that Banquo’s child, Fleance, could be king. Due to Macbeth’s lack of children, he feels insecure and subconsciously admits the risk of Banquo’s child taking over after him is possible. This also shows his jealousy to Banquo’s prophecy; he considers it better to have a long line of kings from his descent then him being king. ‘Upon my head they plac’d a fruitless crown’ (Macbeth, Act III sc. 1 line 62): this refers to Macbeth’s lack of children. He is king but without a descent, the throne is fruit-less. His guilt is constantly by his side as well, because he knows he broke the cycle of nature. He was not meant to be king but forced it. ‘Put rancours in the vessel of my peac...

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...his ambition to be anything at any cost. As we can see, this is not the Macbeth that was present at the beginning; this is a completely different Macbeth. This shows the consequences of obsession, the obsession that was born from the prophecy. The supernatural presence in the play is a factor that makes Macbeth believes this prophecy. It is surreal but yet existent. Macbeth has become a sad, obsessed, jealous and insecure being. He is not happy but yet he believed that being king would make him happy. In this moment of self-reflection, he acknowledges his unhappiness but does not think of ways to decrease it. He thinks of ways that could only increase it such as cutting ties with Banquo. However, this soliloquy provides an easy understanding of how far Macbeth has come in terms of his character and it emphasizes his drastic change.
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