Shortly before he murders Duncan in effort to usurp the throne**,** Macbeth experiences a hallucination of the dagger that will be used to dispatch King Duncan.

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    Not sure this is on topic here, but yes - it adds a pause and a separation of the two parts of the sentence. – Rory Alsop Dec 13 '18 at 15:25

This is a classical case of a sentence starting with a dependent clause.

"Shortly before [...] to usurp the throne." is not a valid sentence, making it a dependent clause (cannot exist on it's own).

The clause must therefore be succeeded by a comma. (see rule 4a, grammarbook.com)

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