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Compare and contrast the opening scenes of two or three plays you have studied to bring out some of the dramatic effects sought for and achieved. Macbeth and Hamet.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

IB A1 English Compare and contrast the opening scenes of two or three plays you have studied to bring out some of the dramatic effects sought for and achieved. Playwrights have always created dramatic, enticing, effective openings to their plays. The object of the opening scenes is to provide the exposition of the play. It often sets the mood, the atmosphere, the tone, the general ambience, the characters, and all the other aspects of the play. In brief, the opening presents the audience with the status quo of the play, which can be peaceful and orderly, or can be amidst confusion, terror, comedy, or any other mood chosen by the playwright. For William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth, the opening exposition scenes can be analyzed for comparison. In writing his plays, Shakespeare puts a lot of emphasis on the exposition of the piece. In focus, the first two witch scenes in Macbeth, provide hidden details about the events to come. Likewise, the guards in Hamlet also foreshadow a pending trouble in the castle. In both cases, neither is detailed enough to give away the plot to the audience. Shakespeare uses the opening scenes to create such tension to leave the audience pending.

Middle

However, further analysis suggests the witches have done nothing but simply provide the truth in affairs. In this sense, the opening scene is used by Shakespeare to underscore Macbeth's internal moral conflict. The first scene almost outlines the entire plot of the story while the third scene delves into the details of Macbeth's future. Overall, Shakespeare crafts this exposition to show the central theme of the play-the battle between Macbeth's reasonable side that abides by law and order against the human passion that leads Macbeth to murder for power. In Hamlet, Shakespeare has chosen a different approach to cast an effect on the audience. Compared with Macbeth, Hamlet does not being in thunder or rain with three witches that seem to take part in a sort of incantation. Instead, Hamlet opens with a dead silent stage where darkness surrounds the area. The scene creates immediate tension with the very first line, which is Bernado asking, "Who's there?" The reply from Francisco, who is at the guard post, is: "Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself." The answer only echoes back as "Long live the king!", which still does not reveal any identities, until Francisco has to guess that it is Bernado.

Conclusion

He uses his character's words, the stage's appearance, and the general atmosphere of the stage to create the angst, the terror, the deafening silence, and the hostile environment of his plays. In using these dramatic effects, Shakespeare evokes emotion in the audience, which is the fundamental goal of stage productions. He is able to, at the same time, convey the deeper literary value of his work by setting up his themes through character's actions and words. Just as with other works, Shakespeare's main characters experience a major internal conflict. For Macbeth, it is his tormented soul after having committed murder. For Hamlet, it is his inability to muster the courage to kill Claudius-he instead gives in to his logical suspicion of the ghost's word. The characters' inner trouble is reflected, in both plays, in the opening scene. And once again, Shakespeare has demonstrated the art of drama through his very masterpieces. Using subtleties that lay beyond the literal meaning of spoken words, Shakespeare combines the literature of his work to the live performances to give his audience the full experience of drama. With Hamlet and Macbeth in focus, it is clear as to how Shakespeare's every line is more than what it seems, bringing the best to both the amateur enthusiast to the literary critic.

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