- Describe at least one important technique used in the written text.
Explain how this technique helped you to understand one or more key ideas.
“All the world’s a stage.” This famous quote by William Shakespeare, author of Macbeth, underlines the theme that reality is subjective, which is a challenging idea demonstrated throughout the play. Shakespeare has used various techniques throughout the play to convey this idea, including in three significant monologues being, Lady Macbeth’s monologue “Was the hope drunk,” as well as Macbeth’s soliloquy “Is this a dagger I see before me,” and his soliloquy “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” These dramatic demonstrations cause the audience to think differently and can be linked outside of the text to real life circumstances.
In Lady Macbeth’s monologue, “Was the hope drunk?” Shakespeare introduces the idea that reality is subjective, when Lady Macbeth says, “When you durst do it, then you were a man, and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more than the man.” This use of repetition introduces the idea by showing the audience how Lady Macbeth has decided that getting the throne is their reality, and she expects Macbeth to fulfill this “manly” role to make this happen. Shakespeare uses the monologue to build on this idea, when lady Macbeth says, “I would … have plucked my nipple from [my baby’s] boneless gum and dashed his brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.” Shakespeare uses this analogy to show the audience how she is trying to make her husband feel shameful that he hasn’t lived up to a stereotypically masculine role and suggests that even she would be prepared to do it herself. This relates to real life as predetermined roles and stereotypes have a lot of power over us, and we can gain control over others as we want to fulfill this role expected of us. The idea that reality is subjective is altogether important in Lady Macbeth’s “Was the hope drunk?” monologue as it causes the audience to think differently about how we choose the script we want to read from and assign others roles that benefit us.
After Shakespeare has introduced the idea that reality is subjective in the “Was the hope drunk?” monologue, he continues to develop this idea in Macbeth’s monologue “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” An example of this is when Macbeth says “Is this a dagger which I see before me? … I have thee not and yet I see thee still.” This rhetorical question shows the audience how Macbeth is beginning to question reality as he says that either his eyes are deceiving him, or everything else is. Shakespeare is showing us how while the dagger is there for his eyes, he cannot perceive it with any other sense. “There’s no such thing,” he concludes, which continues to build on the idea. “It is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes.” Shakespeare uses the subtle use of alliteration to show the audience how while the dagger isn’t there for anyone that walks by, it has been created within Macbeth, so while it lasts, is there for him. As a whole, the idea that reality is subjective is an important part of the monologue, “Is this a dagger which I see before me,” as it gets the audience to think about how what we see is not always what is there for other people, so we can choose to accept whether or not it is there for us.
In addition to the previous two monologues, Shakespeare concludes the presentation of this idea with Macbeth’s soliloquy, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”. An example of this is when Macbeth says, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” This metaphor shows the audience how Macbeth in his reality, after his wife dies, he decides though life is full of events, it is absurd, short, and completely meaningless at the end. This relates to real life as while we can never fully decide on the meaning of life, we often ignore the question and continue, however when someone loses their life, we can begin to become more absorbed in the question. Another example that Shakespeare uses to build on this idea, is when Macbeth says, “Life is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and signifying nothing.” Shakespeare uses this sombre metaphor show the audience how Macbeth has suddenly developed a very nihilistic approach to life, as it no longer means anything to him, and he has made that his subjective reality. Overall, the idea that reality is subjective is important in the soliloquy, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” shows the audience how while the question is the same for everyone, the answer can vary.
“All the world’s a stage.” Is this metaphor true? William Shakespeare helps the audience to decide through the presentation of a challenging idea that reality is subjective. This theory is shown throughout the play including in the three important monologues, “Was the hope drunk,” “Is this a dagger which I see before me” and “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” Shakespeare has effectively used various language techniques to convey this idea to the audience, which can be linked outside of the text to real life examples.