How does Shakespeare’s use of soliloquies and colloquies allow the reader to analyze whether Macbeth was too weak or not for the part he chose to play?
Macbeth the Hero and Macbeth the Weak Many people would do anything to reach their goals. In one of Shakespeare’s great tragic plays, “Macbeth,” Macbeth battles the urge to be simply persuaded by power. Three witches appeared to Banquo and Macbeth in which they tell them the prophecy of Macbeth rising to power and Banquo’s children becoming the heirs to the throne. He was once a great Scottish general who had just won a battle between Scotland and Norway but faces the temptations of his prophecy. The king of Scotland, Duncan, crowns Macbeth as thane of Cawdor but is convinced to murder Duncan. Lady Macbeth assists Macbeth into killing Duncan and framing the sleeping guards. Macbeth becomes king and more murders continue in his pursuit of power. Lady Macbeth’s guilt starts to torture her and couldn’t take it anymore so she commits suicide. Macduff and Macbeth battle which leads to Macduff killing Macbeth and Malcolm becoming king. Shakespeare introduces two literary devices in the play: colloquy and soliloquy. Colloquy is the dialogue with other characters, which illustrates a person how the character wants to be perceived. Soliloquy is the internal monologue in which the audience gets into a personal level of the character and knows the inner thoughts of him/her. Shakespeare’s emphasis on Macbeth’s flaw of being easily influenced by the external forces’ power which causes him to lack leadership qualities that his part requires by displaying this struggle through the contrast between the colloquies that portrays a confident public figure amongst other characters and his amenable private thoughts in his soliloquies. The three witches affect Macbeth’s conscience of being a just leader but the temptation of power overwhelms him in his internal monologue. When Macbeth and Banquo wonders through the woods, the three witches mysteriously appears to them and says,
“First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis! / Second Witch: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! / Third Witch: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!... Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none: / so all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!” (Shakespeare 149-169).
The witches tell Banquo and Macbeth of the prophecy that Macbeth shall be king but Banquo’s children will be the heirs. The thought of this great power makes Macbeth curious causes him to fall under the desire to obtain the witches’ prophecy. He has an internal monologue after his encounter with the witches in the woods about how could this be possible and says to himself,
“If good, why do I yield to that suggestion / Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair / And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, / Against the use of nature? Present fears / Are less than horrible imaginings: / My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man that function / Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is / But what is not” (Shakespeare 247-255).
Macbeth realizes that if he were to be king then that would mean another king would have to be gone and the only way for that to happen is by murder. He is fearful but uses the prophecy of the witches to seize the opportunity to act upon it. The three witches influenced Macbeth to have an internal impulse to acquire more power but also manages to keep it a secret through his own private monologues. Macbeth was a noble and loyal leader under King Duncan until becoming lustful for power has compromised his moral code as shown in his dialogue with King Duncan versus how he really felt through his soliloquy. After Macbeth and Banquo enters the king’s palace, Duncan thanks them for their heroism in battle and Macbeth replies,
“The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part / Is to