AP English Literature Period 4
1 March 2013
Refers to a speech by one person in a drama, a form of entertainment by a single speaker, or an extended part of the text of a play uttered by an actor.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
(Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene I, Lines 42-48)
This is a very popular soliloquy from Macbeth in which the main character’s sanity becomes questionable. His description of the dagger implies that he is questioning the very existence of the dagger in his hand, which may have made him feel less guilty about the actions he commits in the play; the murdering of Banquo, Lady Macduff and her children, and even the young Siward at the end of the play. The lack of absolute certainty of what is real and what isn’t is a common trait amongst psychiatric patients and Macbeth proves to fit the description of one. Whether this clouded vision of reality and imaginary excuses Macbeth from his actions is uncertain, as is the certainty of whether he is in fact insane. But the character may be aware of his convoluted vision as he even describes his own brain as “heat-oppressed.”
A legendary or traditional story, usually one concerning a superhuman being and dealing with events that have no natural explanation. It usually attempts to explain a phenomenon or strange occurrence without regard to fact or common sense and appeals to the emotions rather than reason.
The fiery chariot raced low over Asia and lower yet over Africa. It was then that the fields and forests of northern Africa became the Sahara...
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