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Close Analysis: Macbeth Scene 3:4.

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Introduction

Close Analysis: Macbeth Scene 3:4 Macbeth has achieved his earlier ambition to become king, and fulfilled the witches' prophecies, and yet he has been brooding and melancholy since the murder of Duncan. A banquet at the palace has been arranged for the Lords to celebrate his crowning, an occasion that will hopefully show what a powerful and successful leader Macbeth will be, and cement loyalties between him and his thanes. However, Macbeth is awaiting not just his guests, but also the news of Banquo and Fleance's deaths. The night starts in a very formal and proper way, with Macbeth greeting his guests according to their 'degrees' - their social importance - and himself planning to play the host and mingle amongst them, with Lady Macbeth remaining seated on her throne until later. These traditional and ceremonial touches give no hint at the night's other occurrences and will be predictable and familiar to all present. The feast starts well, with dignity and order, and a cup of wine offered round, which symbolises unity and friendship in many cultures. The Macbeths seem to be enjoying their regal status in the accepted way, with a promising future reign ahead of them. Lady Macbeth welcomes the guests on cue, and Macbeth instructs the guests to enjoy themselves, before leaving to speak to the murderer who has appeared at the door. This is a huge risk for Macbeth, for to be seen talking to the assassin would certainly raise suspicions. ...read more.

Middle

He replies that he is brave to "dare look on that/Which might appal the devil" which does not impress his wife, as she is tired of the way he lets his fears manifest themselves, in visions "flaws and starts" like on the night of the first murder - "this is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which you said/Led you to Duncan". Macbeth ignores her, and instructs the ghost to speak, at which the ghoul disappears. Lady Macbeth again chastises his foolishness, but Macbeth insists that there was something, exasperating her further. The previously happy couple are showing the cracks in their marriage, and in a very public way, demonstrating Macbeth's obliviousness to the whole situation, his total preoccupation with his vision. He talks of murders "too terrible for the ear", and Lady Macbeth has to point out the Lords' continued presence. Macbeth tries to settle their minds by instructing them not to question the incident playing down his rant claiming it "is nothing/To those that know me" and resumes the toast, once again mentioning Banquo, although he is complimentary this time, from guilt and fear of offending the spirit, his earlier bravado gone, unsettled by the first appearance of the spectre and his wife's reprimand. The ghost reappears despite this, for it seems time Macbeth mentions Banquo, he has a vision of him. The presence of a ghost is a continuance on the theme of supernaturalism seen throughout the play, especially with the witches. ...read more.

Conclusion

just what is good for him, not the country, and also demonstrates the rift between he and his wife ("For mine own good"). He muses that he is "in blood stepp'd in so far, should I wade no more,/ Returning were as tedious as go o'er" - that any more bloodshed or killing will not affect him, as he has no chance of redemption or forgiveness, he is more than half way to evil. This is the point where he consciously resolves to become a monster, and not feel human emotions such as remorse or guilt, or think too deeply about his actions. He has taken Lady Macbeth's jibes about his manhood to heart, and forgotten his comment "Who dares do more, is none" (Act1:7,46). His comment "Strange things I have in head that will to hand," suggests future killings and violence, and this whole speech seems designed to dispel any sympathy the audience may have felt for him, as he has confirmed his hardened and evil status. Lady Macbeth is discomfited by his new attitude, and suggests that he "lacks the season of all natures, sleep" an echo of Macbeth's words in act 2, when he heard the voice cry "Macbeth shall sleep no more". They both seem to have forgotten this and leave to bed, but Macbeth again hints of future murder, saying that it is his inexperience at murder that caused him to be so affected by it, and that with practice he will no longer be disturbed by visions or the guilt they signify. Feodora Rayner 10AAB September 2002 ...read more.

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