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Macbeth

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Tarquin

MACBTH-M4VYTM

Sextus Tarquinius was son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. According to Roman mythology and tradition and a Shakespearean poem,

The Rape of Lucrece,

Sextus raped the virtuous Lucretia. The following events eventually lead to the founding of the Roman Republic.

What purpose does this allusion serve when Macbeth says:

...and withered murder,

Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
moves like a ghost? (2.1)

A

Macbeth describes his actions as bold and decisive as Tarquin's was considered at the time.

B

Macbeth believes that though his actions are evil, they will lead to a greater good.

C

Macbeth compares himself to murder's sentinel, the wolf, who witnesses evil rampage through the land.

D

Macbeth sees himself as "withered murder" and his impending deed as horrific as Tarquin's.

E

Macbeth frames Tarquin's actions as positive and even admirable, showing how depraved he has already become.