How does Shakespeare present Macbeth’s deteriorating state of mind?

“She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Shakespeare uses many different methods to present Macbeth’s deteriorating state of mind within this short passage. These range from language devices to the structure of the writing within the book.

Iambic pentameter is one of the main methods that Shakespeare uses to present Macbeth’s deteriorating state of mind. One way that we can analyse the use of iambic pentameter is when “higher class” characters use iambic pentameter when speaking whereas “lower class” characters use a more informal and fluent way of talking. This can be compared to modern day where we portray characters of a higher hierarchy to speak in a more repetitive and confident manner where people of lower hierarchy will stutter and give more forward/straight sentences. The frequent interruptions within the rhythm of the iambic pentameter show frequent interruptions in the mind of Macbeth.

Shakespeare uses language devices to present Macbeth’s current state of mind such as the use of repetition to show that he is in a state of confusion and shock. This is due to people repeating their sentences and words when in shock e.g. “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow”. He uses a metaphor, “Life’s but a walking shadow” to express that a walking shadow is someone without life. The connotations of shadow include depression, darkness, loneliness etc. which all can describe how Macbeth is feeling right now.

Macbeth also uses a wide variety of words which all connote a negative meaning. “petty”, “dusty death”, “poor”, “nothing” are all examples of negative words which correlate to Macbeth’s current view of his situation. Macbeth also mentions time a lot within this short passage. This could be due to the fact that only time can heal his broken heart but also because time is one of the most important aspects of the story at this specific point in time. Macbeth learns that his wife Lady Macbeth had died but also learns that an army is forming outside his castle and he needs to assemble troops fast.

Many other uses of figurative language appear withing this extract. The rule of three is used a few time such as when Macbeth says “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” The use of personification is used when Macbeth says “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” which give the human feature of creeping to the idea of a day or a period of time. This could mean that Macbeth is losing his own life and giving it away to objects around him. That can show Macbeth’s situation which can be seen as lifeless. Another use of personification is when Shakespeare gives the “hour” the ability to “strut” and “fret”.

The metaphysical i.e. the imaginary state of mind of Macbeth, reinforces Macbeth’s short term depression by creating an image of his own future.

A dagger of the mind : what does it mean?

A metaphor used within Macbeth’s Act 2 Scene 1 is “a dagger of the mind,a false creation “. This metaphor gives us an idea of what Macbeth is thinking and of what he is doing. He knows he is going to kill Duncan but is having thoughts about when and how he is actually going to carry out the act. Macbeth does not like the idea of this and is disgusted by the idea. Shakespeare compares the actual dagger to the pain of the dagger to the mind meaning the thought of a dagger of worse than actually weilding the dagger. A false creation indicates that many people consider the act being more challenging then the thought but in this case Macbeth challenges it by saying that the thought Is more challenging as holding a dagger and killing someone can produce guilt in someone.

Creative Writing Now and Then

It was a cold and dark morning. By the time you come to your senses, it as the consciousness that floats within you that exposes itself like a the rain clouds in London on a sunny day. Not too long left until a shadow hovered over the towering city which stood before the indefinite amount of skyscrapers covering the whole city in light which could be seen from the space monitoring programs from above. You await as the siren screeches into the distance echoing itself along the way. Why? You think. Your confusion turns into exhaustion as you look around. The fact that you haven’t  moved made this fact even more peculiar. Why do you do this to yourself?, You think in unison with the marching soldiers striding around you. It was evident. You’ve gone crazy. Maybe it was a dream you think. You’ve always wanted to know how it felt to be crazy, now you do. You’re stressed. Your mind turns to dust. You can’t think. Everything coming to your mind was slowly finding itself written on a piece of paper. You have no time to think. It wasn’t long before you have to leave. You decide to write a little longer. You have enough time before they take you away. Did you eat something wrong? It was …………

You blink a few times. Suddenly you come to your senses. You smell freshly cut grass as you tread along the uneven floor. A loud, deathly bang echoes through the area piercing your eardrums like a spear at its opponent. Loud cheers are heard in the distance and blinding flashes sparkle the sky. You realize a festival is commencing, and you stand for a moment to come to the realization of your situation. Swarms of young people surround you, shouting and screaming not giving a thought of the people around them. You march your way through the gathering pushing and shoving your way through the people like nettles in a forest. You finally reach some fresh air after, literally knocking people over as if you’re a ball at a bowling alley. The dark sky, shouts again in the form of a blinding light. You slowly struggle yourself to the nearest person in hopes that he’ll give you even the littlest detail about the happenings. He tells you in a slurred voice, “You’re in Southwark Park right now, its bonfire night!” he exclaims.

Great Expectations: Chapter 59 Summary

Pip is always thinking about Joe and Biddy but they haven’t seen each other for 11 years. Eventually Pip goes back and reunites with his old home. He finds Joe smoking and they have children. Pip loves the child as he resembles Pip in every way when he was younger. Pip also asks to hang out with him all the time. Biddy insists that Pip should marry first but Pip does not agree. Pip exclaims that he has forgotten his dream with Estella and Estella herself. After all the talk about Estella, Pip goes to Satis House. Over the years, Pip has learned that Estella was never happy in her marriage with Drummle. He also heard that Drummle had died in an accident. After arriving at Satis house, Pip sees that everything is gone except for the garden wall. Pip sees a silhouette walking towards him. Pip sees Estella and they shout each others names in excitement. They sit on a bench and have a conversation about Satis House and how they haven’t been there since the death of Miss Havisham. Estella claims that the land was hers but she was never able to let it go. They both tell each other of how they thought of each other often. Estella’s suffering has taught her to understand what having feelings are like. She asks Pip to be friends. Pip says “We are friends” and they make their way out of the broken land.

Great Expectations: Chapter 58 Summary

Pip arrives back at the village and stays the night at the Blue Boar. This is the first night he had slept well in a while. The next morning , Pip goes to visit Satis House only to find that the area is being sold off. He heads back to the Blue Boar and discovers Mr Pumblechook. Mr Pumblechook pretends to be nice by ordering Pip a watercress sandwich. Again Mr Pumblechook sits down and tells Pip all about his horrible actions. Pip gets annoyed and when Mr Pumblechook finishes, Pip heads off to find Joe and Biddy. Pip goes to the schoolhouse to see if he can catch Biddy teaching but the schoolhouse is empty. He realises its the holidays. Pip goes to the forge to find Biddy and Joe linking arms and crying in happiness. It’s their wedding day. Pip is shocked in excitement. Pip expresses his happiness for both of them and says he will pay off everything that they helped him pay off. Pip tells them the news that he will leave England. Pip then says he wants them to to tell their children all about him (Pip). Pip has a nap and after eating lunch with them, Pip leaves England and goes to the East. He vows to join Herbert and Clara. He finds them and they become partners. Pip communicates with Joe and Biddy often and has paid back all his debt. Herbert, Clara and Pip live happily . Pip is eternally grateful to Herbert.

Great Expectations: Chapter 57 Summary

Pip, all alone now, realises that he has no money and is also in heaps of debt. He places his bills on the windowsill and informs the landlord he won’t be living there much longer. Although Pip gets very ill and starts hallucinating and sleepwalking. Pip starts acting strangely as if he was possessed. Pip’s debtors show up but Pip does not know who they are. They arrest him and suddenly someone is helping him. Joe is helping him. Pip feels guilty as Joe is so nice to him when Pip looked down on him. Soon later, Pip gets better and realises Biddy has taught Joe how to write. When Pip is better, Pip learns that Miss Havisham has died and has split up her wealth. Orlick robbed Mr Pumblechook and abused him. Orlick ended up in Jail. Joe and Pip go on an adventure into the country and Pip tells Joe all about his years and Magwitch but Joe says the past is the past and to worry about the present. Joe apologises to Pip for the past and Mrs Joe. As Pip’s condition gets better, Joe starts calling Pip “sir”. One morning when Pip wakes up, he finds a note by Joe. The note read goodbye and included a receipt that showed that all of Pip’s debt had been payed off. Pip feels extremely devastated. Pip thinks of a plan. He decides to follow Joe home and work in the forge with Joe. After three days, Pip heads home.

Great Expectations: Chapter 56 Summary

Magwitch is sick. His injuries from the fight include; two broken ribs and a punctured lung. He struggles to speak and breathe. Everyday Pip would visit but Magwitch’s condition got worse and worse. Jaggers attempts to postpone Magwitch’s trial but he can not. As the trial starts Pip is stood next to Magwitch holding his hand. Pip is a bit nervous and shocked by the trial as their were so many onlookers and convicts. The judges reads out each person’s death sentence. He gets to Magwitch’s death sentence and reads a long list as he has committed so many crimes. Pip tries to appeal the death sentence but no one responds. He realises that Magwitch will die and tells him that his daughter is alive and she’s a beautiful lady also that Pip is interested in her. Magwitch kisses Pip’s hand, his face turns pale and Pip realises that Magwitch has died.

Great Expectations: Chapter 55 Summary

As the police take Magwitch to Police, they try to find evidence that Magwitch was an escaped convict but their was no evidence. Compeyson could have been the only evidence but he had drowned in the attack. Pip pleads Jaggers to take Magwitch’s case but Jaggers refuses. He implies that once a witness is found, Magwitch is done for. Magwitch also had his money taken and they ponder as to where the money will go. Compeyson’s motive for capturing Magwitch was that he thought he would receive a reward. Magwitch gives the paper found in Compeyson’s pocket detailing his motive to Jaggers and hoping that Pip can acquire his money. Pip doesn’t care about the money but is more worried about Magwitch. After a while in the police station, Herbert tells Pip that he’s heading out to the East to pursue his business and seek his fortune. Pip is extremely heartbroken so Herbert suggests that Pip goes to Cairo with them to live with him and Clara. Herbert also says he can give Pip a job there and that they could become partners. Pip asks for two or three months to decide. Another day, Pip runs into Wemmick and gets invited to the castle on the next monday. As the next monday comes, Pip heads to the castle. They decide to go on a hike and bring a few fishing rods. As they hike, they pass a church and they go in. A pair of gloves are in the church and he tells Pip to put them on. Pip does so without knowing anything what is happening. Miss Skiffins appears with Wemmick’s father and they propose a wedding. Pip realises he will be Wemmick’s best man. They go to a local inn to have a wedding breakfast after the ceremony has ended. Although Pip finds out that the wedding must be kept a secret from Jaggers.

Great Expectations: Chapter 54 Summary

It’s the day that their plan will take place. Pip is a little hesitant but is ready nonetheless. Herbert, Pip and Startop row to Clara’s House and pick up Magwitch. Magwitch in this case is dressed as a river captain. Startop and Herbert are rowing as Pip’s arms are unable to. Instead Pip is steering while Magwitch is reminiscing about his life. They have a stop on the side of the river for a break where they have some food and drink beer. Pip has a weird feeling that someone is following them. They row a bit farther in the direction of the ocean but it is getting dark so they decide to stop by an inn called the Ship where they stay the night. The inn isn’t in the best condition but they are happy for the shelter. One of the workers at the inn indicates that he saw a boat somewhere in the distant that wasn’t moving. Pip is a bit wary but they decide to sleep. Pip wakes up in the middle of the night again only to find a bunch of men snooping around their boat. Pip gets even more anxious. Early next morning, they head out and aim for a ship that will take the two to Hamburg. Soon, they realise a boat is following them and is following them closer than before. Magwitch notices Compeyson in the boat, and jumps to attack him pulling him into the water with him. The two struggle under water but only Magwitch is seen surfacing. Magwitch is severely wounded. Pip buys him some dry clothes. Pip then tells Magwitch that he will always be on his side.


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