IBDP2 English A1 Commentary
This extract given from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth shows us a dialogue between the titular character Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor and his friend Banquo, a fellow Thane, before proceeding onto one of the most famous soliloquies in literary history. We know that Macbeth is planning on killing King Duncan and it shows in his trepidation beforehand, as he hallucinates and sees an imaginary dagger just like the one in his possession, egging him on to do it. Shakespeare includes diction and imagery among the literary devices that he uses.
The scene opens with a conversation between Banquo and Macbeth where Banquo reveals he has been dreaming of the three witches. Macbeth tells him that he has not thought of them since their encounter in the woods. They both agree to discuss them another time and Macbeth allows a curious statement to slip from his tongue,
“If you shall cleave to my consent, when ‘tis/ It shall make honour for you”
Banquo responds to this by saying
So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
I shall be counsell’d”
This is an indication that Macbeth clearly has something planned. It seems as though Macbeth is planning on bribing Banquo for his support when the time comes for him to be King, as the witches have predicted. Macbeth is very vague about the sort of support he requires, and Banquo tells Macbeth that will listen to Macbeth’s advice so long as he doesn’t lose his personal integrity in the pursuit of “honour”. It is a clear implication by Banquo that he has sensed that Macbeth has some sort of sinister plan in his mind.
After they both have left, Macbeth tells his servant “Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, / She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed”. This “bell” is not to let him know that his drink is ready, but really, to give him the signal to kill Duncan.
This is wear Macbeth starts to experience his visions of the dagger, a...