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What is Macbeth's problem in his opening soliloquy in Act 1 scene 7?

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craziiboykev | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:28 AM via web

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What is Macbeth's problem in his opening soliloquy in Act 1 scene 7?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:52 AM (Answer #1)

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In this soliloquy, Macbeth debates with himself the plan to kill King Duncan that he and Lady Macbeth have just created.  He knows that it is something that he needs to do to become king, but he also knows that it is wrong to kill another person.  Additionally, he must worry about killing his king, who he has vowed to protect, and worry about killing his house guest.  

First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself.

Here Macbeth lists the issues his conscience has with killing Duncan.  Killing a person is wrong, but even more problematic is  killing your king. 

Macbeth points out that he has welcomed the king into his house (Macbeth calls himself Duncan's host).  Part of agreeing to let the king stay in your house is an understanding that he will be taken care of, and that he will still be alive the next day.

In the end, Macbeth convinces himself the deed must be done, and so he goes through with the plan.

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