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“The banquet scene is a pivotal one”. Discuss this comment in terms of plot, staging, character and relationships, particularly the change in the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

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Introduction

Claire Stancliffe "The banquet scene is a pivotal one". Discuss this comment in terms of plot, staging, character and relationships, particularly the change in the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Act 3, scene four of 'Macbeth' the play, by William Shakespeare contains many of the themes that run throughout the play, which make the scene such a pivotal one. A main theme of the play is witchcraft and the supernatural. This is symbolised by the witches, and Macbeth's vow to visit them the following day- " I will to-morrow (and betimes I will) to the Weird Sisters." and is also, more importantly, present in the form of Banquo's ghost in the banquet scene. This theme of the supernatural is not only vital to the plot, but was written into the play specifically to please King James 1 of England. The play was written, and performed in 1606, with the aim of impressing the new king. Shakespeare knew that King James was greatly interested in witchcraft and the supernatural- so much so that the king actually wrote a book called 'Daemonologie' all about supernatural occurrences. Therefore, in order to make the play appealing for the king, Shakespeare included witches and a running theme of the supernatural. ...read more.

Middle

This also shows the difference in the two's view on their relationship. Lady Macbeth, at this point, has no idea that she is being left out of proceedings, and feels she and her husband have plotted together throughout. Macbeth however, knows that he has kept Banquo's murder from her, and therefore is beginning to feel that her can not even trust her. This suggests that the breakdown of their relationship has more to do with a change in Macbeth's character than the relationship itself. The distrust taking over Macbeth is also evident in act three, scene three, where he hires a third murderer to ensure that Banquo and Fleance are killed. The banquet scene not only shows Macbeth's character becoming more guarded and distrusting, but shows his shift from good to evil. He decides that his crimes are such that there is no point trying to reform his character. His sense of right and wrong has disintegrated into a need for power. He no longer feels as much guilt for his murders, and sees no way out of what he has already done. This is shown in the line "I am in blood stepp'd in so far, that should I wade no more returning were as tedious as go o'er ". ...read more.

Conclusion

This would show that no one has noticed Macbeth's strange behaviour yet. When using a real person, routes onto stage have to be thought of. Trapdoors could be used to give the idea that the ghost is just appearing out of no where, then disappearing, using smoke to camouflage what is happening. Another way the ghost could be hidden from the audience is just by using the wings. The ghost could enter from one side, then leave from the other, hiding in the wings, then reappearing. When the ghost enters the lights should be brought down, then brightened up again immediately as the ghost leaves. As the lights come up, the rest of the cast could come out of the freeze frame, or begin to talk if freeze frame is not used, showing that they had not seen the ghost at all. In conclusion, when considering staging plot and relationships, the banquet scene is a particularly important one. It shows a huge change in relationships between Macbeth and his wife, and his 'friends'. It is here that the 'tragic hero' can either redeem himself, or fall further into the clutches of despair. Macbeth chooses the 'easy' option of continuing down the same road, blocking out the people he was once close to. Therefore, this scene is pivotal and shows changes in attitudes, relationships and, most importantly, character. ...read more.

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