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Act 3 Scene 4 - Macbeth.

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Introduction

Shakespeare manages in a number of ways to portray Macbeth's personalities. This scene is one in which very quickly we wee many sides of Macbeth. At the very start of the scene Macbeth announces to the other lords: You know your own degrees This shows us that he wants everyone to know were they stand in relation to him. This also reflects the feudal system that was around during the period in which Macbeth was set. The fact that Macbeth speaks first emphasises his importance. It seems as thought the lords will not do anything until Macbeth announces that they may. Macbeth has also hosted this banquet as he doesn't feel secure in his position and wants to regain it. We know he is insecure as in Act 3 scene 2 as he says it would be 'Better [to] be with the dead...Than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy' Shakespeare also, throughout the scene, shows us Macbeth's deceptiveness. First of all she says that he will 'play' the 'humble host' the fact he says 'play' may emphasise that he is just putting on an act. In his speech 'See, they encounter thee.... There's blood upon thy face' we see the two personalities of Macbeth. He talks to his company in a genial manner and almost in the same breath he is talking to the murderer he hired. ...read more.

Middle

However the fact that he is still smiling gives a kind of unity between Macbeth and his lords. This is done in Macbeth on the Estate version through music. The music 'We are family' is being sung in the background. It has been chosen as it is upbeat and the lyrics show community and unity and that everyone is on Macbeth's side. Both versions use different ways of showing Macbeth's confrontation with the murderer Macbeth hired. In the RSC version the murderer is in the same room as the lords while in Macbeth on the Estate Macbeth is called out of the room. In the RSC version a close up shot is used to show Macbeth's deceptiveness as it shows a secret conversation between the two while the lords- and his wife- are still somewhere in the background. His deceptiveness is also shown through the different tones in his voice when talking to the murderer and his guests. He then continues on to pass the chalice round and this helps to reinforce the ceremonial act, as it is very ritualised. When he receives the news that Fleance has escaped Ian Mc Kellen and James Frain show their alarm in two different ways but still manage to get the same idea across. In the RSC version Mc Kellen holds the chalice tight- as if to be holding on to his position. ...read more.

Conclusion

James Frain is pushed out by Lady Macbeth, he also shows Macbeth to be pathetic through his facial expression- he has a confused expression. Act 3 Scene 4 ends in a similar way in both versions. In RSC he is the one supporting Lady Macbeth after the lords leave and he is talking clearly. He is also thinking aloud- and his staring off into the distance shows this. He has now at the end of the scene yet again changed character. In Macbeth on the estate he is again not staring at anything in particular, but is gazing into the distance, he is not addressing Lady Macbeth but is thinking about the future. Frain, like Mc Kellen portrays Macbeth to be the stronger character off the two, as at the end of the scene he is the one holding Lady Macbeth. Act 3 Scene 4 is a very important scene for showing Macbeths character. This scene really shows the true Macbeth as it shows what he is really like and how he is covering it up. This scene is also a turning point for Macbeth- and has made him think more- however what he is thinking is that he will have to commit more murders and he will have to visit the witches. Both actors, James Frain and Ian Mc Kellen, both get across clearly the character of Macbeth very well. Amy Burns 1 ...read more.

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