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Analysis of "There's Daggers in Men's Smiles" in 'Macbeth'

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"There's daggers in men's smiles" (2.3.164). William Shakespeare’s Macbeth narrates the tale of a Scottish general by the same name, who driven by greed and avarice murders his King in order to take the throne. Agonized by the guilt of his doings, he is afflicted by a state of insanity and eventually dies himself. The verse quoted at the beginning of the paragraph is spoken by Donalbain, son of the recently murdered King in conversation with his brother Malcolm. Donalbain and Malcolm, grief-stricken at the news of their father’s death discuss escaping Scotland, fearing the possibility of their father’s murderer being out to kill them as well. Recognizing the loyal and good-natured attitudes of everyone at the castle, Donalbain nevertheless realizes that outward emotions may be deceitful and makes the wise decision of choosing life over possible death. The term “daggers” used in the quote signifies the dangers of trusting an individual or group to such an extent, that one is blinded by the possibility of their exploitation and the other party’s harmful intentions. “Smiles” was skilfully utilised to signify insincere emotions and attitudes that one may deceptively display solely for their selfish gains. Shakespeare informs the reader that no matter how genuine a smile may seem, there is always the probability of that smile concealing deceit.
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