Soliloquies In Macbeth

How many soliloquies are in Macbeth?

Mention in which act and scene they occur.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are seven (7) soliloquies in Macbeth, but one is a short speech by Macbeth in Act II, Scene 3 in which Macbeth, who, although he enters with Malcolm and Donalbain, seems to be talking to himself shortly after the murder of Duncan:

Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant
There's nothing serious in mortality:
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead;
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of. (2.3.99-104)

While the other speeches are clearly soliloquies as they are speeches delivered by one character alone on the stage, a soliloquy, according to Dr. Wheeler, can be a speech in which a character just believes that he is alone; so, in that case the above few lines qualify.  Soliloquies are important because they provide otherwise inaccessible information to the audience.  Often they offer sharp insights to the character who speaks, and they are considered to be true reflections of what the speaker believes or feels.  Indeed, it is through the soliloquies of Macbeth that the reader/audience learns that he is not all evil.

Here, then, are the other six soliloquies:

  1. "Glamis thou art..." (1.5)
  2. "The raven himself is hoarse..."  (1.5)   [These 2 are Lady Macbeth's]
  3. "If it were done...." (1.7)
  4. "Is this a dagger...." (2.1)
  5. "To be thus is nothing....(3.1)
  6. She should have died hereafter (5.7)


kschweiz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several soliloquies in Macbeth, but the most popular and those most often analyzed are as follows:

The raven himself is hoarse--Lady Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 5

If it were done when 'tis done--Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7

Is this a dagger which I see before me--Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 1

To be thus is nothing--Macbeth, Act 3 Scene 1

She should have died hereafter (Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow)--Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5

Naturally the majority of the soliloquies are said by the title character, as it is primarily he the readers rely upon to watch the tragedy unravel.