Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Importance of Soliloquies

Throughout Macbeth, William Shakespeare has incorporated soliloquies into his writing.  Soliloquies are important because they allow the reader to understand the thoughts and feelings of characters.  Through this, we can understand what they are thinking and allows foreshadowing.  They are so important in Macbeth because they allow us to see the characters’ emotional deterioration which advances the plot.  

It begins when Macbeth is considered loyal and patriotic for killing the traitor of Scotland.  After receiving the prophesies, the use of soliloquies allows us to see the turn in Macbeth as he and Lady Macbeth plan to murder Duncan.  Soon after, in one of Macbeth’s soliloquies it says, “As his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself” (I.VII.14-16).  This shows Macbeth’s thoughts are now changing as he is contemplating whether or not to commit the crime as he feels he should remain loyal and trustworthy to Duncan. Without this soliloquy, we would not suspect Macbeth to show this innocence.  Since Macbeth is second guessing his choices, it foreshadows that Macbeth will show remorse after he murders Duncan.  After this, there is a scene where Macbeth hallucinates and sees daggers.  This shows how Macbeth refrains from life and is having evil thoughts which foreshadows that Duncan will be murdered. 

Not only do the soliloquies show Macbeth’s development but Lady Macbeth’s as well.  We can see as she transitions from evil thoughts of the murder to remorse.  

With only these few examples of soliloquies, we can see the importance of soliloquies as they show character development which advances the plot as well as foreshadowing it.  These soliloquies have allowed us to see characters’ inner thoughts and connect the ideas throughout the play to gain a solid understanding.  We have especially been able to see the change in Macbeth as he second guesses his choices, shows remorse for murdering Duncan, fears Banquo when he becomes suspicious and plans other murders.  

Without the use of soliloquies do you think we would see and understand the thoughts behind the characters' actions?


  1. I love how you made a connection to Macbeth's emotional deterioration and the use of soliloquies. This become evident with his dagger speech and continues all the way to his speech about old age. What do you mean by "refrains from life"?

  2. I agree that soliloquies are very important because they can advance the plot, and reveal character and theme all in one.