The Dagger Soliloquy Analysis

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This passage is from Act 2 Scene 1 of Macbeth, a tragedy written by the famous playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare. It starts with Macbeth sending off a servant to give Lady Macbeth instructions. This leaves Macbeth alone on the stage to start his famous soliloquy, the Dagger Soliloquy. This soliloquy is important to the play as it characterizes Macbeth, foreshadows his fate after killing Duncan, and elaborates on themes touched upon earlier in the play. To start with, the Dagger Soliloquy characterizes Macbeth well, due to the fact that it is a soliloquy. The purpose of a soliloquy is to describe a character’s thoughts and feelings clearer than can be expressed through dialogue with another person. This soliloquy is particularly…show more content…
At the beginning of the soliloquy, Macbeth is characterized as a thinker, not quite sure if his choice of action is correct. Shakespeare demonstrates this trait in the first third of his soliloquy, up until he draws his dagger. This third consists of a collection of questions to the dagger that appears in front of him. While being rhetorical, these questions create the sense that Macbeth is not sure of himself or what he wants to do. He is not yet convinced thoroughly that he is going to commit the murder, as he has moments of respite in between seeing the dagger and questioning its reality. Throughout the soliloquy, Shakespeare builds tension to coincide with the decision making that Macbeth has to do. He does this first through repetition of the phrase “I see”. Every time this phrase is used, more detail is added to what Macbeth is conveying increases the tension as the dagger gradually starts leading him towards Duncan’s chambers. After this, as Macbeth becomes closer and closer to becoming certain in his decision, Shakespeare personifies murder, saying that it “moves like a ghost”, creating a supernatural atmosphere, as well as alluding to “Tarquin’s ravishing strides”. Tarquin was a tyrannical king, who committed many sacrilegious acts, such as

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