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In act III scene i of Macbeth, Macbeth's fear relates to Banquo and his...

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ollyolly

Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:43 PM via web

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In act III scene i of Macbeth, Macbeth's fear relates to Banquo and his offspring. I need to link the soliloquy to language, structure and context. 

Im doing some work on fear in Macbeth's soliloquies.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:59 PM (Answer #1)

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A soliloquy is like a mini play and as such it has a lot of content. There will be recognizable themes (good versus evil and ambition are evident) or sub-sections which will help to set the scene, establish the context and create structure.

In Act III.i Macbeth is scheming and already convinced that Banquo must die to ensure security for himself. "Goes Fleance with you?" is a crucial point in the play; Macbeth knows only too well that the witches prophesied that it is Banquo's sons that will be kings. This establishes the context for the soliloquy to follow.

The reference to being "alone" should prompt the audience to note that Macbeth will, indeed, be alone, as his murderous intentions intensify.

The structure of Macbeth's soliloquy is definitive and, as before, we see a glimmer of remorse for what he has done.

To be thus, is nothing..III.1.48    

refers to himself being king and the deservedness of it. This feeling does not last long. Macbeth knows that he is king yet he is still bound to Banquo causing uncertainty - and fear. He is in awe of Banquo's reaction to the witches and how he was not concerned that he would never be king but the fact that his sons would be

They hailed him father to a lone of kings.III.i.59

It does not take Macbeth long to become bitter when he refers to "a fruitless crown" and his ambitious desires begin to surface. There is even a biblical reference to the "vessel of peace" and Macbeth knows he deserves the wrath of God and he has succumbed to"the enemy of man"- the devil .

Macbeth then changes from anything with religious significance to "fate." This fits with his trust in the witches' powers - beyond any real spiritual belief. Macbeth thus hides his fear by appearing unflinching and defiant.

The context of the soliloquy, in relation to the whole play is significant and foreshadows the deaths that will follow and the blatant and overly- confident demeanour  that will cause Macbeth's ultimate destruction:

he is so blinded with ambition and power and will stop at nothing to secure his powerful position.  

The language used is relevant as it builds drama and adds to the intensity of Macbeth's words. Macbeth is using the audience as a sounding board - they will be complicit in what he does. He is creating an emotional tie with his audience. He is confused and

misinterprets the guilt that he suffers as being simply a matter of fear.

The diction lends itself to the overall effect. Macbeth goes from words such as "wisdom," "valour," "safety" to "rebuked," "fruitless," "barren," "wrenched" and so on leaving the audience with no doubts as to what will follow.

 

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