Soliloquies of Macbeth

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Q. Discuss the dramatic significance of the soliloquies in Macbeth. (OR) Q. “Macbeth is a hero turned villain, still we sympathise with him.” How has the dramatist enlisted our sympathy for him? Shakespeare, like other Elizabethan playwrights, has utilized the literary device of soliloquy for a variety of purposes. He has used them very ably for analysis of motives and purposes of the characters concerned and to help in the development of the action of the play. Macbeth is the only tragedy of Shakespeare in which the tragic hero turns a villain and yet he retains our sympathy till the very end. Even when Macbeth makes Scotland bleed as a result of his career of blood, he does not entirely lose our sympathy. This feat of dramatic art has been achieved through his various soliloquies at different stages of his career of murder and bloodshed. Thus his soliloquies are the windows through which we get a glimpse of his inner suffering and realize that, though a villain he may be, he has also much good in him which fails to assert itself owing to circumstances beyond his control. Macbeth’s asides after hearing the prophecies are in fact soliloquies that amply reveal the secret goings - on in his mind and expose his character. When the Witches have uttered their prophecies, Banque finds him “rapt” in thoughts. When Rosse and Angus inform him to the conferment of title of Thane of Cowder on him he cannot restrain himself from revealing to the audience his secret ambition of becoming King: “The greatest is behind”. He looks upon the partial fulfillment of the prophecies “as happy prologues to the swelling act” of “the imperial theme.” In Act I, Sc. iv, just after Duncan nominates his son as the Prince of Cumberland and heir to the throne, he invokes the stars to hide their fires so that he himself may not see his “black and deep desires.” These asides bear special dramatic significance. They expose the birth of evil in Macbeth’s...
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