Macbeth #2

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What methods does Shakespeare use to present Macbeth’s state of mind in the following extract from Act 5 Scene 5?

MACBETH I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cooled To hear a night-shriek and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t. I have supped full with horrors; Direness familiar to my slaughterous thoughts Cannot once start me. Wherefore was that cry?

SEYTON The queen, my lord, is dead.


MACBETH She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle, Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing.

In this extract from Act 5 Scene 5 Macbeth does the majority of the talking. Shakespeare allows the character to dominate this scene, with only a brief break from a type of herald, Seyton, explain, ‘The queen, my lord, is dead.’ This short but intensely important statement allows for a change in tone and is a real test of Macbeth’s character and his state of mind at this time.

In the first lines, before the news is given, Macbeth is in fact talking to himself....

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