12th May 2017

Soliloquy Study Macbeth

She should have died hereafter;                                                                                                                                          There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, -Time passes it means nothing
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools  -All the time leads to our death
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!  -Referring to the light of the candle of life, How a candle is alight for a brief time like life is brief
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player -life is only a short trivial piece of time
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage -life is meaning less
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Metaphor: “To the LAST SYLLABLE of recorded time” Comparing the unit of time to a unit of language, a syllable indicates that shakespeare is developing an idea that our lives are like a script.

Metaphor: “CREEPS in this petty pace..”  Presenting time as a creature that creeps brings a connotation that time is like a slow moving predator. Its a paranoid idea as if time is out to get Macbeth.

Repetition: “TOMORROW and TOMORROW…” both of rhythm and words emphasises the inexorability of time (fate).

Weak foot: “TIME;” This interruption to the iambic rhythm of Macbeth’s speech suggests he is faltering mentally and emotionally.

Spondee: “OUT, OUT..” This altered meter denotes an urgency in Macbeth’s thoughts.

Metaphor: “BRIEF CANDLE” comparing life to a candle flame emphasises its, transience, fragility, insignificance.

Metaphor: “POOR PLAYER”






Question: How does shakespeare use language to reinforce his ideas in Macbeth?

Idea: Brevity of life./ Meaningless


  • Metaphor,
  • breaking the iambic rhythm,
  • alliteration,
  • repetition

Include: Connect to question, Provide insight, Supply examples

Example of paragraph:

Shakespeare, in his tragedy Macbeth, is preoccupied with the relationship between humanity and the forces in life beyond our control. Macbeth who has just learned of his wife untimely death considers his life to be “like a walking shadow”. It is in his use of metaphor, and the interplay between symbols of light and dark, that Shakespeare communicates this idea of the nature of death. In his metaphor ” a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more” shakespeare is comparing our lives to that of an actor on stage, which is characterised as being full of effort and self-obsession, but ultimately transient and unimportant. This serves to underline Macbeth’s own sense of futility as all his plans and machinations have lead him here to the point where he is alone, facing almost certain defeat and losing the only person left alive who he loves.

My Paragraph:

Idea: ambition- the greed to have the power of royalty

Shakespeare pushes the idea of having a greed of power through the exploring figurative device or idea of ambition in Macbeth. Shakespeare first throughly shows this greed of ambition using Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth’s excitement and desire of the new found royalty cannot be disguised after reading the letter from Macbeth about the three sisters. Her hunger for getting what she wants is loud and clear, “That no compunctious visitings of nature, shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between the effect and it!” Lady Macbeth  loses her innocence as such because she is a Lady whom which shall not disobey god or the King of Scotland and must keep to her feminine ways. Greed is a powerful thing and when matched with ambition the two can persist to show a very evil side. Lady Macbeth is highly provoked when Macbeth looks too see if there is another way as he is scared to kill Duncan; for what can be seen as a women with no mercy Lady Macbeth has her sights set on the prize with Macbeth foreseeing the dirty work.  




Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. In reference to your practice paragraph about Lady Macbeth: The strength in this paragraph is the extent to which you demonstrate an appreciation of Lady Macbeth as a representation of the action of ambition and greed on an individual in the context of Elizabethan England. Where it needs work, however, is in the balance between assertions about ideas (which there are many) and the evidence to support these assertions.

    You’ll find your work will become a lot more coherent if you commit to matching every statement to a supporting quotation. You’ll find if there’s no quotation to support it, the statement is likely to be pure speculation (Something you’ll want to keep to a minimum) and you’ll also find that once you have a secure quote embedded into your analysis it will do the work of providing logic and substance to your ideas.

    You have already done this successfully when you write: Her hunger for getting what she wants is loud and clear, “That no compunctious visitings of nature, shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between the effect and it!” – more of this please!

    As a broader point, you’ll find you will get a lot more mileage out of expanding on a few strong ideas deeply than trying to give a superficial gloss over a multitude of ideas.

    Do let me know if you’d like me to explain this in more detail.



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