Plot Summary / The Story-line
In Act I, Scene VII of “Macbeth”, Macbeth slips out of the supper-room to think over whether or not to go through with the murder of King Duncan. He is torn between his loyalty to the King, who he believes is a virtuous ruler, and his ambition to become king himself. He considers the potential consequences of the murder, both in terms of his own conscience and in terms of the political repercussions it could have. So, he decides to “proceed no further”.
Lady Macbeth enters the scene and questions Macbeth’s resolve, calling into question his manhood and his commitment to their shared goal. She argues that if he fails to go through with the murder, he will be seen as weak and unmanly.
Ultimately, Lady Macbeth’s persuasion is enough to convince Macbeth to go through with the murder. She assures him that they can cover up the crime and avoid detection. She proposes to make the King’s chamberlains (guards) drunk in order to make them appear guilty of the murder. Macbeth agrees and the scene ends with the two of them plotting their next moves.
Commentary on Act I, Scene vii
Act I, Scene VII of “Macbeth” is a pivotal moment in the play that marks Macbeth’s decision to follow through with the murder of King Duncan. The scene is notable for its exploration of the theme of ambition and its corrupting influence on Macbeth’s character, as well as its depiction of Lady Macbeth’s manipulation and persuasion.
Macbeth’s soliloquy in this scene is a powerful exploration of his inner conflict, as he debates the moral and political implications of the murder. He is depicted as a tragic hero here, as he suffers from insufferable temptation. His struggle to reconcile his loyalty to the king with his own ambition creates a sense of tension and uncertainty that is central to the play’s tragic themes.
Lady Macbeth’s entrance into the scene brings a sense of urgency and persuasion to the conversation, as she urges Macbeth to go through with the murder and questions his manhood and commitment to their shared goal. Her manipulative tactics and emotional appeals highlight the depth of her own ambition and foreshadow the role she will play in Macbeth’s downfall. Here Lady Macbeth plays the role of a fourth witch.
Overall, Act I, Scene VII is a powerful and complex moment in “Macbeth” that prepares the audience for the upcoming murder scene. It highlights the corrupting influence of ambition, the power of persuasion and manipulation, and the use of dramatic irony to create tension and anticipation.