Aqa english lit macbeth help me lmao

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braindeadpog
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i got 24/30 on this question can someone tell me how to improve please aha


extract was from act 2 scene 1 (macbeth's is this a dagger soliloquy)

question: How does Shakespeare use the supernatural to effect here?

my answer:
Shakespeare uses the enigmatic and brutal nature of the supernatural to present Macbeth in a state of mental turmoil where he is struggling to think clearly. This theme of the supernatural features throughout the play and is used to not only establish dominance over Macbeth’s fragile character but also frighten the Jacobean audience who regarded it as an infringement of God’s rule.
The supernatural is something that many don’t believe in since it is not something that is tangible or physically seen and so through the constant mentions of it in Macbeth’s soliloquy Shakespeare amplifies the plight of chaotic insanity Macbeth is in. The arguably most famous part of his speech where Macbeth questions ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me[...]?’ suggests from the onset that he is having hallucinations induced by perhaps stress from what he is about to do. This is then followed by yet another rhetorical question which further reinforces the idea that Macbeth is in a state of mental disorder and can’t determine what is real and fake and likewise, what is right or wrong when it comes to killing Duncan. Shakespeare also inclines the audience to be involved in this conversation through the use of direct questions but also the use of personal pronouns ‘I’, creating an intimate atmosphere. Additionally, this soliloquy contributes to the trend of Macbeth being drawn into the supernatural world by the witches and constantly being deceived. Later on in the play, Macbeth experiences many more hallucinations such as when he encounters Banquo’s ghost. When this happens, Macbeth once again uses questions like ‘How say you? Why, what I care?’ only this time he does so in front of others and for an extended period of time suggesting that perhaps this soliloquy is only the point where it starts and Macbeth will get caught up in his own guilt and the witches’ plan more and more as the play progresses. For this reason, the use of questions is crucial in portraying the influence that the supernatural has on Macbeth’s life by controlling his actions and leading to his downfall.
Shakespeare employs references to the supernatural in this soliloquy as well as throughout the play to not only embody the evil in the world but also to complement and bring out the evil which he believes is already present in everyone. Upon seeing the dagger and the blood splotches on it, Macbeth concludes to himself that it isn’t actually there but rather ‘It is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes’. This recognition from Macbeth at this point is essential as it tells the audience that these supernatural like ‘visions’ that he had were just a manifestation of the path of murder and evil Macbeth is about to take. Shakespeare may be trying to convey the idea that even if someone thinks about doing something wrong and takes just one step in that direction, then they are bound to be haunted and taunted by that desire until they carry it out. This not only emphasises the extent of the power that evil can have- and the power that it is proven to have when it inevitably takes Macbeth’s life- but also fuels the theme of ambition present in the play which time and time again blinds Macbeth and leads him to commit treacherous crimes. Alternatively, this seemingly sudden change in mind Macbeth has in the middle of his speech where he goes from solely believing he is seeing a dagger to deciding that it is not real could just be a device for Shakespeare to emphasise Macbeth’s mental instability due to the supernatural. His abrupt nature is further shown in the change from the uneven and plosive language in ‘blade and dudgeon gouts of blood’ to the even alliteration in ‘bloody business’. Either way, Shakespeare successfully uses the supernatural to affect here to reflect his views about evil and the destruction it can cause.
Jacobean society was one that feared God immensely and so the idea of the supernatural, a force which challenges the good of God, was seen as dangerous and harmful to humans. We see the mentions of supernatural entities throughout this soliloquy, for example when Macbeth personifies murder and says that it ‘moves like a ghost’ and ‘with Tarquin’s ravishing strides’. The simile which highlights the stealthy nature in which ‘murder’ or rather the hallucination of the dagger moves presents how someone may not see it coming- just as Duncan did not think he would be murdered that night. The use of comparing it to a ghost could also suggest the haunting nature of the crime and foreshadows the guilt which will overcome Macbeth. In addition, the use of the adjective ‘ravishing’ to describe movements implies a sick sense of delight and beauty in taking a life which could be suggestive of the fact that the supernatural is purely evil and like the witches, it takes pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. Macbeth’s mentions ‘witchcraft’ in his speech, combined with the major part that they play in the play is important as it was in the Jacobean era when King James I officially declared witchcraft to be an offence. Moreover, at this time almost everyone believed superstitions about witches and so using a topic that was current, Shakespeare effectively utilised the audience’s existing fears to create a frightening dynamic of power in the play. The witches are also mentioned in the middle of the soliloquy which highlights how at the end of the day, the witches are at the centre of the chaos and destruction that happens to Macbeth and Scotland as it is all part of their plan, as established in the very first scene. This may act as a reminder for the audience that even if they are seeing into Macbeth’s life throughout this play, it always comes back to the witches as they caused this whole chain of events.
In conclusion, the supernatural is used not only here but also throughout to inspire fear in the audience and convey the hold it has over Macbeth’s mind and ultimately his life.


thank you so much!!
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akshayaax
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The first quote ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me[...]?’ can be analysed further, along the lines of this :
Macbeth speaks this famous soliloquy when he is taken over by his guilt and growing insanity for killing Duncan. His imagination brings forth the picture of a dagger in front of him, which symbolizes the impending murder. Macbeth has made his decision to kill the King and take the crown as his own.
Setting here is the time before Macbeth intends to kill Duncan. It is the night, and the darkness reveals the darkness of his plan. His weakness in character is depicted through the hallucination that leads him to murder. “The dagger” and “the blood on the dagger” represents his evil instinct, guilt, and remorse.
*Don't forget to mention the literacy devices in that quote - imagery & metaphor - AO1 points which will increase marks.
Also there isn't much AO3 (Contextual Points) in there - attempt to talk about the Great Chain of Being - medieval belief that everything had a place in life. Alteration causes consequences.- Nature reprises Macbeth when he kills Duncan- “the night has been unruly” ‘the owls shrieked and the crickets cried’.
Or another AO3 point is talking about the witches and how they were seen to be people who had made a pact with the Devil in exchange for supernatural powers.
For the rhetorical question in literature - it intends to make the idea of the writer clear. Here, it illustrates what Macbeth has in mind at that time. “The handle toward my hand?” explains that he is about to kill Duncan with a dagger, for he reaches his dagger to ensure that what is hanging in front is his vision than the real dagger. Further, “To feeling as to sight?” gives emphasis on how his sense has overpowered him and his growing thought of insanity as he replays the act of killing Duncan in his mind.
Hope this helps.
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braindeadpog
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t

(Original post by akshayaax)
The first quote ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me[...]?’ can be analysed further, along the lines of this :
Macbeth speaks this famous soliloquy when he is taken over by his guilt and growing insanity for killing Duncan. His imagination brings forth the picture of a dagger in front of him, which symbolizes the impending murder. Macbeth has made his decision to kill the King and take the crown as his own.
Setting here is the time before Macbeth intends to kill Duncan. It is the night, and the darkness reveals the darkness of his plan. His weakness in character is depicted through the hallucination that leads him to murder. “The dagger” and “the blood on the dagger” represents his evil instinct, guilt, and remorse.
*Don't forget to mention the literacy devices in that quote - imagery & metaphor - AO1 points which will increase marks.
Also there isn't much AO3 (Contextual Points) in there - attempt to talk about the Great Chain of Being - medieval belief that everything had a place in life. Alteration causes consequences.- Nature reprises Macbeth when he kills Duncan- “the night has been unruly” ‘the owls shrieked and the crickets cried’.
Or another AO3 point is talking about the witches and how they were seen to be people who had made a pact with the Devil in exchange for supernatural powers.
For the rhetorical question in literature - it intends to make the idea of the writer clear. Here, it illustrates what Macbeth has in mind at that time. “The handle toward my hand?” explains that he is about to kill Duncan with a dagger, for he reaches his dagger to ensure that what is hanging in front is his vision than the real dagger. Further, “To feeling as to sight?” gives emphasis on how his sense has overpowered him and his growing thought of insanity as he replays the act of killing Duncan in his mind.
Hope this helps.
thank you so much omds
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