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How does Lady Macbeths soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5 "The raven himself is hoarse..."...

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khly | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted July 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM via web

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How does Lady Macbeths soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5 "The raven himself is hoarse..." respond to the proposition of " Macbeth comes to life when lifted off the page".

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM (Answer #1)

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Shakespeare's use of figurative language, repetition, and imperative verb tense makes "Macbeth come to life when lifted off the page."  Lady Macbeth's soliloquy is a passionate entreaty to the spirits to:

"unsex me here
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty!" (I.v. 42-44)

The strength of Shakespeare's diction resonates with the audience; Lady Macbeth's plea captures their attention with the forcefulness of her words.  Shakespeare incorporates alliteration by using repetitive consonant sounds like "murdering ministers and "sightless substance," which further draws the audience in.  Lady Macbeth's soliloquy beckons the spirit world, but also the audience, with her thrice repeated use of the word "come:" (1) "come you spirits," (2) "come to my woman's breasts," (3) "come thick night" (41, 48, 51).  Her use of the imperative verb tense commands both the spirits and the audience to listen; Lady Macbeth's soliloquy is both commanding and authoritative, full of power and resonance. 

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Kristen Lentz

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