LT: I can analyse Shakespeare’s use of language to present Macbeth’s state of mind
Complete at least 2 paragraphs of analysis answering the following question:
To what extent is Macbeth’s vision of the dagger an invitation for him to kill the king?
You must include:
evidence from the text;
an explanation of the language used;
focus on at least 1 key word and its effect;
A comment about historical context.
Wednesday 6th February
Immediately before Macbeth murders Duncan, he begins to hallucinate and sees a dagger floating in front of him. Macbeth is confused by this and immediately begins to question whether it is an invitation to kill Duncan, or a warning to follow his conscience and “proceed no further in this business”. At the beginning of his soliloquy he notices “Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee” This insinuates that Macbeth feels the dagger is encouraging him to hold the handle as it points towards him so that he might hold the handle and follow it to his victim, led by a power greater than himself. The verb “come” also implies that Macbeth wants to hold the dagger because he is driven by his insatiable greed for power and murder Duncan, as if his ambition is too strong for him to hold back, despite the severe consequences for his actions.
However, Macbeth shows that he is immediately confused and sees that the dagger could in fact be a warning, created by his guilty conscience. For instance, he refers to the hallucination as a “fatal vision”, implying that Macbeth thinks it will bring his own death and tragic demise for his sinful actions against both the king and God himself, as in the Jacobean era people believed in the Divine Right of Kings. He perhaps realises that this vision “cannot be good” Alternatively, Macbeth perhaps could infer that the vision foreshadows the death of Duncan and is simply showing him his fate, as the witches have already told him at the beginning of the play.
Use your notes from your lesson to help you explore this extract.
Try to cover a range of quotations from across Macbeth’s soliloquy, embedding your evidence as you analyse. Remember, you won’t necessarily fully explore every quotation you come across, but when you use one that is loaded with interesting language connotations, make sure you explore them!
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All the resources to support this task, including the assessment rubric, are available on Google Classroom and students have been given time in a number of sessions this week to begin their writing, with peer-critique of their work and class-critique of WAGOLLs to support their development of ideas.
The majority of students will type their final draft, but if they have limited access at home to devices they will be permitted to handwrite their work in their book.
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The questions – and other helpful resources – are available on Google Classrooms.
There is also an extension task for those students up for a challenge!
Don’t forget that all students are encouraged to stay for extended study 3.15-4.30 Monday-Thursday, where they will have access to staff and laptops to help them complete their homework.
Any questions, please see Mr Brown, Mrs Parker or Mr Ryder.
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