Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 7)

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1. Identify a reaction to the lines that give clear insights into a character’s state of mind and/or intentions. Discuss these insights in depth. The following journal entry will identify and analyze the states of mind of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and their development over the course of the passage. Macbeth has just finished a powerful soliloquy in which he considers his earlier plans to murder the King. Now that he is closer to the time, he is more conscious of the potential consequences which could follow this act. He realizes that there are many reasons for which he shouldn’t kill Duncan, and only one reason to kill him; his own ambition, which is not always reliable: such an ambitious leap, he says, could only result in a very nasty fall. When Lady Macbeth enters, he announces to her that he has dropped the idea of killing the King. He explains that he is glad enough with the honors he is currently receiving and with the knowledge that he will almost certainly be appointed King at Duncan’s death, so sees no reason to rush the procedure and run the risk of getting caught. At this, she pounces on him furiously, attacking his ego: calling him a coward, and asking him what has happened to the bravery he once had. She is intent on going through with her plans, and does not want him to lose sight of what he could have. It is clear that she has not thought about the moral implications of the act. All she cares about at the moment is that her husband completes the task he had set himself. Macbeth, the brave warrior, is ashamed to be called a coward. He had not expected such a passionate response, and tries to reason with her, saying that he wants to be man about the situation, meaning that he wants to be proud and noble: a gentleman in today’s English. Lady Macbeth then accuses him of being less than a man, for a man would be brave enough to carry out his promises
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