Macbeth Act 1 Soliloquy Analysis
These two soliloquies show the drastic change in Macbeth’s worldview over the course of the play, as he approaches two murders completely differently.
Early in the play, Macbeth wrestles with his desire to be king of Scotland, as it was predicted for him by three witches. In order to achieve this, he must kill the current king, Duncan. The audience sees him process this in Act I, Scene 7 in a soliloquy that revealed his inner battle. Macbeth is weary and confused by the conflict between his morals and his desires. In the first half of his speech, beginning “If it were done when tis done” (I, 7, 1), Macbeth reveals that he desires for Duncan to be dead but is cautious of the moral consequences of murder. Shakespeare uses the imagery of a net to demonstrate Macbeth’s caution when he says, “If th’ assassination / Could trammel up the consequence and catch / With his surcease success,” (I, 7, 2-4). Macbeth wishes that this murder could be executed successfully, completely, and without consequence, just as a net neatly …show more content…
Macbeth knows that he is in a position where Duncan should be able to trust him, as he is his kinsman, subject, and host (I, 7, 12-16). As Duncan is the King, murdering him is already shameful, but to murder him in Macbeth’s own home, where he should be the one protecting Duncan, goes far beyond. This emphasizes Macbeth’s relationship to Duncan and that he values that relationship. As someone who is respected and even honored by Duncan, this part of his monologue shows Macbeth still has a sense that he should be loyal to the king. Macbeth also points out that Duncan is a virtuous and good man whose death would be greatly mourned. He says “[Duncan’s] virtues / Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued,” (I, 7, 18-19). This metaphor shows Macbeth’s respect for Duncan and also his weariness of killing him. This is what makes Macbeth’s decision so difficult; he knows Duncan very well and knows duncan is a good man. If he were an enemy or had no significance to Macbeth, he may not have even considered before killing him. Macbeth concludes his thought process by describing his only motive to being his “vaulting ambition” (I, 7, 27). If he is not motivated by who Duncan is as a King or by the well being of his country, the only factor driving Macbeth to kill is his craving for power. But Macbeth does not neglect the power of his ambition, in fact the ambition is so powerful that it is