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Macbeth's First Soliloquy


Macbeth's First Soliloquy Act 1 Scene 7 Context of the Soliloquy -Macbeth is contemplateing the idea of assassinating King Duncan. -Set almost right after the King ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Macbeth's First Soliloquy

Macbeth's First Soliloquy
  • Act 1 Scene 7

Context of the Soliloquy
  • -Macbeth is contemplateing the idea of
    assassinating King Duncan.
  • -Set almost right after the King meets with both
    Lady Macebth and Macbeth. They are engaged in a
    relatively peaceful discussion, which is ironic
    because of the solilioquy's focus on the killing
    of King Duncan.
  • -As we will get into later, this is the final
    time during the play that we see an ethical and
    moral Macbeth. It goes downhill from here,
    especially within this soliloquy.

Act 1 Scene 7 lines 1-10
  • If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
  •     It were done quickly if the assassination
  •     Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
  •     With his surcease success that but this blow
  •     Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
  •     But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
  •     We'ld jump the life to come. But in these
  •     We still have judgment here that we but
  •     Bloody instructions, which, being taught,
  •     To plague the inventor.

-Macbeth is analyzing the possibility of killing
Duncan. He starts off plainly by saying that if
he is to assassinate Duncan that the deed should
be done quickly. -Macbeth wishes that the
consequences of the murder could be controlled,
or erased entirely. Essentially, Macbeth wants to
kill Duncan, but does not desire the
consequences, both physical and mental, that will
accompany the action. He longs to be absolved of
the sin that would come along with the murder of
Lines 7-12
We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here that we but
teachBloody instructions, which, being taught,
return To plague the inventor this even-handed
justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd
chalice To our own lips.
  • - Macbeth is selfish here, worries over bad
  • - He knows that by murdering for power, he is
    inviting other people under him to do the same.
  • - Using "we" -- Macbeth broadens his
    interpretation of his situation to all of
  • - "Bloody instructions" metonym for murder,
    also foreshadowing
  • - Right now Macbeth is only worried about his
    future and not the moral conflicts of murder.

Lines 12-16
  •                             He's here in double
    trust 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.
  • - Macbeth switches his thought process from
    selfishness to moral responsibility.
  • - Admits the trust that Duncan has in him not
    just as the king's second-hand man, but also
    as his host.
  • - Hospitatlity extremely important

Lines 16 - 23
Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so
meek, hath been So clear in his great office,
that his virtues Will plead like angels,
trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of
his taking-off And pity, like a naked newborn
babe, Striding the blast, or heavens cherubim,
horsed upon the sightless couriers of the air.
  •     The First thing that we see in this pasage is
    that he has nothing against Duncan. He concludes
    Duncan is an excellent King, "blameless in his
    great office" and has exercised his authority to
    a very noble extent. If he killled him then he
    would be commiting a diservice to his country and
  •     This could be a way to further emphasize
    Macbeth's dilema. Highlighting the near
    perfect cult of personality that Duncan has
    behind him.
  •     It could also be Macbeth just second guessing
    himself, showing his uncertanty about doing
    something and is venting his guilt.

Analysis continued
  •     Macbeth admits that if he were to kill him
    than he would be going against his duties as
    host, and that he should do everything in his
    power to protect him, not hurt him.
  •     states that even the gods themselves will cry
    for Duncan, and that he will forever be a martyr
    for the people if killed. 
  •     This could be also taken as a way to justify
    the murder in Macbeth's eyes. By killing him
    Macbeth will make people remember Duncan in his
    prime, not some old king who died of old age.

Lines 24-28
  • Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
  • That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
  • To prick the sides of my intent, but only
  • Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
  • And falls on th' other.
  • -Macbeth is clearly still in self-reflection
    mode, saying that he does not have the ability to
    kill Duncan he has not courage or willpower.
  • -He believes that people will not sympathize with
    him, they will just weap for Duncan.
  • -Still quite timid and unsure of himself, but
    Macbeth is on the path towards assassination.

Contribution to the Theme
  • -A central theme within the play is the nature of
    evil and corruption. This soliloquy is the final
    time that we see a Macbeth that is moral,
    ethical, and considers reason in his decisions.
    This leads us as readers to believe that humans
    are corrupted by society as opposed to born evil
    or corrupt. We are to believe that it is the
    witches and Lady Macbeth that corrupted him.
  • -In terms of plot, Macbeth's contemplation of the
    consequences display reason and rationally on his
    parts, which is abandoned soon after with Lady
    Macbeth's influence.
  • -Thus begins the question that readers have to
    answer Does Macbeth create his own downfall? Or
    does it come about by forces outside of his
    control? His words and thoughts in this soliloquy
    begin this discussion, and his actions here point
    us towards an answer to this question.