In Macbeth’s soliloquy Shakespeare uses many rhetorical devices to magnify Macbeth’s change in attitude about killing Duncan. Two of the main rhetorical devices used in the soliloquy are rhetorical questions and allusions to Hecate and Tarquin. These two devices help Shakespeare depict the change in Macbeth’s attitude about killing Duncan and also represent his decision to kill Duncan. Macbeth’s rhetorical questions share his lack of clarity and conviction to kill Duncan while the allusions represent his decision forming and becoming clear to him. At the beginning of Macbeth’s soliloquy Shakespeare uses rhetorical questions to represent Macbeth’s feelings about killing Duncan. In the first seven lines we see three rhetorical questions. These questions lead into the conversation Macbeth has with himself to decide if he will kill Duncan. At the beginning of the soliloquy he seems unsure if he actually wants to go through with the plan. This uncertainty is represented by his uncertainty of the dagger’s existence. The first question he asks is whether or not he actually sees a dagger in front of him. It is a simple question but leads us into the others. The second question he asks is if the dagger was sent by a “fatal vision” (II. i. 35). Here, the word fatal acts as a double entendre. Fatal can either mean someone’s destiny or it can mean a deadly action and in this case it works with both definitions. Macbeth wonders if it is his fate to kill Duncan with the dagger and the dagger is the deadly weapon that will be used to kill Duncan later on in the play. The final question Macbeth asks himself is whether this dagger is real or not and if it is formed by his “heat-oppressèd brain” (II. i. 38). The fact that he does not even know if he really sees a dagger or not makes it clear to the audience that he is going crazy over the thought of killing Duncan. When Macbeth asks himself this question he is wondering whether he really wants to kill Duncan...
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