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Macbeth Final Soliloquy

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Man's natural ambition is to thrive and achieve power. This ambition tends to be realized through wealth, relationships, social class, or faith. Ultimately, the goal to succeed is simply reflective of the underlying desire to justify one's existence. Without justification, life becomes meaningless and one becomes numb to the world that surrounds. This numbness is what depresses humans of essential emotions and commonly leads to suicide. In Act V., Scene V., lines 20-31, Macbeth's final soliloquy is a tragic concession to the insignificance of his own existence. However, he surrenders only after a rigorous pursuit for happiness and stability. This powerful passage has a very important structural and stylistic aspect that, in a sense, concludes the play. The speech marks the end of Macbeth's character development and conflict, and has a very distinct tone, mood, and diction.

The structural significance of this speech lies in its resolution of Macbeth's character development and the relationship between Macbeth and his wife. Throughout the story, the root of every conflict has been ambition. Specifically, this ambition has been Macbeth's quest for power. Several murders occurred as a result of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's incessant desire for authority. Consequently, after each murder, both Macbeth and his Lady become increasingly more undone. This soliloquy underscores Macbeth's ultimate tragedy and the destruction of his ambition. He comes to the realization that life is utterly worthless. Macbeth says, "And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!" In other words, the only purpose he believes that is served by existing on the Earth is to finally reach a "dusty death." He compares life to a "brief candle." This belief of worthlessness and insignificance is truly the extreme opposite of ambition. Therefore, the speech is proof of a completely changed Macbeth. Moreover, taking into account that every previous conflict has been the result of ambition, and that this ambition is now eliminated, one can assume that there will be no more significant problems. The soliloquy also marks the end of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. When he learns of her death, Macbeth replies: "She should have died hereafter. There would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow." He has lost his wife and his greatest partner and yet the response is plagued with numbness. In contrast to Macduff's reaction, Macbeth is reserved and unmoved. Rather, he says that she would have died anyway at a later time. This statement reinforces his firm belief that existence is meaningless. Thus, Macbeth's tragic undoing brings a close to his character development and the relationship he once had with his wife.

Macbeth's dialogue is uniquely noticeable because of its morbid tone, pessimistic mood, and gloomy diction. In previous soliloquies and dialogues throughout the play the style has been a manifestation of ambition: plots to assassinate, repercussions of murder, and dreams of power. Understandably, the diction and mood tended to be optimistic or violent. In this passage, however,

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