How does Macbeth’s dagger soliloquy reveal his state of mind in Act II, scene i of Macbeth?

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Macbeth's vision of a dagger hovering in the air suggests at the outset of the soliloquy that he is at the very edge of sanity, the extreme stress of his violent thoughts and internal conflict causing him to hallucinate. He apostrophizes the dagger, questions it, asks if it is real and, even when he seems to realize that it is not, still sees it as clearly as the real dagger in his hand. Macbeth describes his brain as "heat-oppressed," a striking image for the pressure and turmoil he experiences. Even after questioning the dagger and considering that it may be "a false creation," he still cannot quite decide:

Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest;

This emphasizes his ambivalence about the murder. Perhaps he should trust his eyes and follow the dagger after all. In fact, he does so even after deciding "there's no such thing."

However, instead of proceeding to the task in hand, Macbeth falls to meditating on the powers of darkness and the various terrible...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 882 words.)

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