Soliloquies Essay - Importance of the First Soliloquy in Macbeth

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Importance of the First Soliloquy in Macbeth

Following king Duncan's arrival at Inverness,

Macbeth delivers his first major soliloquy. This speech

summarizes his reasons for not wanting to commit murder. It is

also an image of the plot of Macbeth, as it foreshadows the

chain of events that is to follow the murder of Duncan. Although

Macbeth knows that he cannot "trammel up the consequence"

of Duncan's murder and that his actions will have repercussions,

he commits the murder and continues to kill; thus is Macbeth

shown to be a weak character who can be easily convinced to

perform terrible deeds. Although this is not apparent before the

predictions, the moments following them and his
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This supernatural soliciting

Cannot be ill, cannot be good; if ill,

Why hath it given me earnest of success,

Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor:

If good, why do I yield to that suggestion

Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair

And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,

Against the use of nature?

(I.iii.130-137a)

Banquo. That, trusted home,

Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,

Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But Ôtis strange:

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray's

In deepest consequence.

(I.iii.120b-126)

Macbeth allows himself to be overridden by this "horrid image"

of him murdering Duncan. If he were to have a stronger

character, as does Banquo, he would be able to recognize the

witches as "instruments of darkness" that are merely tempting

him. As it is, he plays their game and follows their plan to the

letter, proof of his moral flaw.

Macbeth says in scene three that he does not need to

do anything to make himself king: "If

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