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After studying the Banquet Scene in Macbeth, what evidence do you find of Shakespeare's skills as a dramatist and poet?

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Introduction

After studying the Banquet Scene in Macbeth, what evidence do you find of Shakespeare's skills as a dramatist and poet? Shakespeare's Macbeth was probably composed in late 1606 or early 1607, when Shakespeare was in his early 40's. His other three great tragedies, (Hamlet, King Lear and Othello) had already been written and his reputation as a talented play writer and poet was well established. Unlike the great majority of Shakespeare's plays, (not including the English Histories) Macbeth has been set in Scotland and not abroad. It is a relatively short play without a major sub-plot, and is considered by many scholars to be Shakespeare's darkest work. The play starts with Macbeth and Banquo, who are generals of Duncan, King of Scotland, returning from a victorious campaign against rebels when they are met by three witches who greet Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and king hereafter. The witches prophecy that Banquo will be father to a line of kings, but the words have hardly left their lips when messengers come to tell Macbeth that the king has created him Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his services. After that, King Duncan honours Macbeth by coming to stay at his castle. There, after being spurred on by his wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth murders him and seizes the crown. Because of the witches' prophecy concerning Banquo, Macbeth tries to make himself sure of getting the throne by plotting the death of Banquo and his son, Fleance. The men he hires to do this for him are successful in murdering Banquo, but Fleance escapes. Haunted by the ghost of Banquo, Macbeth seeks out the witches, who bid him beware of Macduff, the Thane of Fife, but also give him a sense of security by telling him that nobody who was born of a woman will harm him and that he shall never be vanquished until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane hill. ...read more.

Middle

and also so clearly ("Here comes my fit again") the character of Macbeth is really brought to life. Lady Macbeth, however, never seems to display any emotions of guilt, fear or regret in this scene, but still her character is brought to life. Instead of Lady Macbeth having 'fits' like Macbeth, she is portrayed as a rather unemotional woman in the sense that she remains calm and collected in front of her guests at all times. As I mentioned before though, she too is two faced as she clearly demonstrates after Macbeth starts having a public fit: "Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat; The fit is momentary; upon a thought He will again be well. If you much note him, You shall offend him and extend his passion: Feed, and regard him not. [aside to Macbeth] Are you a man?" This single quotation says an awful lot about Lady Macbeth's character. Unlike any other quotes that we have come across so far, this one actually shows the strong relationship between Lady Macbeth and her husband. Although Lady Macbeth is extremely annoyed with Macbeth for making such a scene, she still protects him by lying to the other guests about him having fits from his youth. Also, she doesn't embarrass him publicly, but takes him aside to tell him off, which shows that although she is mad, she still loves her husband and doesn't want him to make a fool of himself in front of the guests. As I mentioned, the quote also displays Lady Macbeth's two-facedness since she is pleasant to her guests and then immediately after she drags Macbeth aside and her character changes from being pleasant to very unpleasant. However, Lady Macbeth's falseness isn't really the main point I want to make about this quote. Notice how she immediately takes over Macbeth's authority and puts herself in charge of the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Get thee gone; to-morrow We'll hear ourselves again." What Macbeth is metaphorically saying here is that at the moment, Fleance is a 'worm' but, in time, he will grow into a 'poisonous snake'. Shakespeare uses metaphors here to compare Fleance to a snake and a worm. I think he does this because a worm is completely harmless, like Fleance is at the moment, but a serpent is a very poisonous snake that can be rather threatening under certain circumstances and since Fleance has escaped, he will eventually become a great threat to Macbeth as he is bound to find out that his father, Banquo, was murdered by him. Shakespeare also uses a metaphor when Macbeth says: "No teeth for the present. Get thee gone; to-morrow / We'll hear ourselves again." When he says "No teeth", he obviously doesn't mean that Fleance doesn't have any teeth, but that since he doesn't yet know Macbeth's secret, he is not that much of a threat and so Macbeth says "No teeth" because if a snake didn't have any teeth it would not be dangerous, but one with teeth would be. What Macbeth is simply doing is he's instructing the murderer to find Fleance before he finds out his secret, yet Shakespeare turns this simple command into an effective display of his ability to use interesting and metaphorical language to create the mood he wants. After studying this scene in Macbeth, I have found many examples of where Shakespeare openly displays his dramatic and poetic talent. However, I personally believe that the greatest evidence of Shakespeare's extraordinary playwriting skills is the fact that the play Macbeth has survived the test of time. Although it was written just under four centuries ago, it is still an extremely popular and much loved play and for a writer to achieve something as great as this unanimously proves that Shakespeare was an extremely talented man indeed - perhaps the greatest writer of all time. ...read more.

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