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Mac Beth: Act 1, Scene 7 Essay

1009 words - 4 pages

In Shakespeare’s MacBeth, a Scottish thane ascends his way to becoming king by killing off anyone in his way. MacBeth’s first victim, and most difficult to kill, was King Duncan. The reason killing King Duncan was harder for MacBeth than killing other victims, was that MacBeth had never committed such a crime, and he was unsure whether or not he wanted to go through with his plan. He had promised his ambitious wife, Lady MacBeth, that he would kill Duncan, though he later reassesses the idea. If it were not for Lady MacBeth’s persuasion, Duncan most likely would not have been murdered.
In Act 1, Scene 7 of this play, MacBeth begins a monologue. In this soliloquy, the character shows, as Shakespeare’s characters are known to, a human truth: he is conflicted with morals of killing his king; the mind’s battle between personal want and acting ethically. He states an ethical appeal to himself, saying, “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed,” meaning that he should act as a dutiful subject and not slaughter his good king. MacBeth is aware that his only motivation to kill the king is his ambition, and that ambition drives people to disaster. At the end of MacBeth’s monologue, he had chosen not to kill King Duncan, and shares his decision with his wife Lady Macbeth once she enters.
Lady MacBeth, an power-hungry woman, persuades her husband to return to the plan of murdering their king. The first ploy she used to persuade MacBeth was an emotional appeal, making him feel bad about himself by calling him a coward. She asks him,”Wouldst thou have that, Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem,” dubbing him a coward for retreating from the plan they originally agreed on. When MacBeth asks his wife to stop insulting him, she slanders him further by saying, “What beast was ’t, then,That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man,” implying that he is not manly nor valiant, because he no longer wants to murder the king. Shakespeare renders another human truth here by revealing that MacBeth responded by being embarrassed:: most men feel defiled when called unmanly, and feel the need to prove their manliness. Lady MacBeth was successful in convincing MacBeth to murder the king by calling upon man’s need to feel masculine. She continues to use emotional appeal to show how discontented with MacBeth she is for him breaking his promise, when she says, “I have suckled a baby, and I know how sweet it is to love the baby at my breast. But even as the baby was smiling up at me, I would have plucked my nipple out of its mouth and smashed its brains out against a wall if I had sworn to do that the same way you have sworn to do this.” The MacBeth’s had previously bore babies but none had lived, which upset Lady MacBeth. By her stating this, she expresses how...

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