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Soliloquies are used throughout Macbeth to show the audience the inner thoughts and emotions of characters. These speeches are often indicated by the fact that the speaker is alone and talking only to himself, or by the term “Aside” in the directions, meaning that the speaker is saying something to the audience that the other players will not hear. The following pages in Literature Texas Treasures: British Literaturecontain soliloquies from the play:

  • page 316, Macbeth
  • page 318 (bottom), Macbeth
  • page 320, Lady Macbeth
  • page 323, Macbeth
  • page 329, Macbeth
  • page 330, Lady Macbeth
  • page 343, Banquo
  • page 344, Macbeth
  • page 382, Lady Macbeth (speaking in a dream rather than a regular soliloquy)

Write a five-paragraph essay analyzing the use of soliloquy to develop a particular character in Macbeth.

Here are some questions to help you with brainstorming and developing a plan for your essay:

  • What specific characteristics or emotions are revealed through the use of soliloquy?
  • Do soliloquies give information about the character that would not otherwise be known to the audience?
  • Do the ideas shown by soliloquy create sympathy or make the character more easily understood by the audience?
  • How would the character be perceived differently by other players if the others around were aware of the inner thoughts revealed in the soliloquy/soliloquies?

Answering one or more of these questions may help you to develop a strong thesis statement for your essay. Use quotes from the play as evidence in all body paragraphs of your essay. You should quote at least one soliloquy, and you may use quotes from other parts of the play as well. Remember to develop a strong thesis statement as part of your introductory paragraph. Review the Tips for Good Writing and the Essay Structure information that appears in the Resources section.

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