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discuss the ways shakespeare creates tension and suspense in his presence of lady mcbeth and the structure of the scene in act 5 scene 1

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Discuss the ways in which Shakespeare creates tension and suspense in his presentation of Lady Macbeth and the structure of the scene in Act 5, Scene 1. In the play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a complex character and is used to vary drama levels according to her choices and unpredictable way of thinking. As the play progresses, Shakespeare employs Lady Macbeth's character to keep the audience constantly engaged by provoking strong emotional responses to her actions through shocking language and dramatic tension. Macbeth was written by Shakespeare during 1606 - 1611. At this time James 1 was on the throne, which meant that he had Divine authority. He was a highly superstitious man and in 1604, introduced a law that any person practising witchcraft would face public execution. This may have been the reason why Shakespeare incorporated an element of supernatural into the play, thus inducing optimum fear and drama into the play for this specific audience. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth's actions are highly influenced by the witches and this creates a lot of dramatic tension during the play. Act 1, Scene 5 sees the introduction of Lady Macbeth. At the beginning of the play, she is presented as being strong, incisive and completely in control. ...read more.


This short scene momentarily allows the audience into the private thoughts of the murderous couple, whilst holding the action in suspense. Neither Macbeth nor his wife seems completely at ease; in the earlier murder, Lady Macbeth was undoubtedly in command as it was Macbeth that needed convincing. But in this scene the weaker role is passed on to his wife. Towards the end of the scene, Macbeth's line "Thou marvell'st at my words" suggests that Lady Macbeth is gradually responding. Once so calm and collected, she is losing the composure that allowed her to mentally prepare for Duncan's murder. As the play progresses, she is becoming less sure of herself and her abilities. Lady Macbeth's language in this scene allows Shakespeare to play on the power relationship between husband and wife. This is shown in two different ways: First, by Lady Macbeth's innocent-sounding questions and second, by Macbeth's adoption of animal imagery. He takes on the same horror filled language used by his wife in Act 1 scene 5, imagining his mind to be "full of scorpions" and "shard-borne beetles." Shakespeare has created tension and suspense in this scene as the audiences are beginning to witness the break down of Lady Macbeth. It is the fear of the unknown that she is experiencing that creates suspense, but in a subtle manner. ...read more.


These two lines highlight the difference between looking and understanding. Lady Macbeth may be able to see what she is doing but doesn't fully understand the affects. This relates back to her plan of murdering the King. She has the inability to realise how much hurt and anguish she has caused, all because of her overwhelming sense of ambition. The Doctor realises that it is not a Doctor that she needs, it is a "Divine" priest. He has understood that she is not suffering from medical problems, but a much more psychological problem. A priest may help her to "discharge their secrets." This scene is cleverly structured as it combines all of the previous factors of the play into this one scene. It relates the way in which Lady Macbeth is currently feeling to how she felt before. This scene makes clear comparison to her state of mind throughout the play and gradually brings Lady Macbeth to her final breaking point, in which she commits suicide. Overall, the presentation of Lady Macbeth in the play "Macbeth" creates tension and suspense in a very subtle manner. It is not always apparent to the audience that she is gradually reaching a breaking point owing to the fact that she is a strong woman and often disguises her emotions. Beth Rogers 10A2 ...read more.

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