Homework Help

In Macbeth, in what ways does Macbeth's "Is this a dagger..." soliloquy portray him as...

user profile pic

seerboldly | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:26 AM via web

dislike 3 like

In Macbeth, in what ways does Macbeth's "Is this a dagger..." soliloquy portray him as a tragic hero?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

This soliloquy can be seen as presenting Macbeth as a tragic hero through the way that the dagger leads Macbeth towards Duncan's chamber and the murder he is going to commit. In a sense, Macbeth sees himself as almost being powerless to resist the dagger that he sees before him: he is a victim of forces beyond his control, whether they are supernatural or emerging from his own unconscious. Macbeth recognises this himself when he asks a series of questions to the dagger about its identity:

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible

To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but


A dagger of the mind, a false creation, 

Proceeding from the heat-opprest brain? 

Macbeth seems to recognise that this dagger could be a result of his own fevered imaginings, but either way, he sees it guiding him towards the terrible crime he is about to commit, and he is a tragic hero in the way that he is unable to resist the dagger's lure and the way that it foreshadows both the blood he will shed with a real dagger and his own blood that will be shed by the close of the play. Macbeth is a tragic hero in this play because in this speech, by determining to kill Duncan, he sets himself on the path to perdition whilst seeming to be helpless to prevent this.  

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes