Exchange from Macbeth

Exchange from Macbeth

The climactic exchange between Macbeth and Macduff that begins with Macbeth’s brief soliloquy “Why should I play the Roman fool . . .” and concludes “Lay on, Macduff, / And damned be him that first cries ‘Hold, enough!’” (V.8.1-34).

Consider the context; that is, what actions in the drama have led to this moment and what actions follow it. Consider how you might provide a detailed account of what each character is saying in each speech. Consider what each speech reveals about the character who speaks it. How does the exchange relate to the immediate development of the drama, both what comes before and what comes after? How does it relate to the dramatic arc of the play as a whole? How does it relate to the play’s thematic concerns? Finally, after completing your analysis, consider what your thesis about the relation of the passage to the play as a whole might be. You will want to open your essay with a statement of your thesis or argument, but this may well be the last point of understanding that you arrive at in your analysis prior to outlining and beginning to write. These suggestions are not an outline for your paper but a recommended procedure for how to approach the exercise.

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