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Examine Act Three Scene four of Macbeth. Explore how Shakespeare presents the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth through language and action. Comment on the dramatic significance of the scene and audience response to the themes of the play as sh

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Justine Ryles Friday 1st January 2010 Macbeth Task- Examine Act Three Scene four of "Macbeth". Explore how Shakespeare presents the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth through language and action. Comment on the dramatic significance of the scene and audience response to the themes of the play as shown in the whole text. (intro) Shakespeare presents the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth through language and action. "You know your own degrees" is the opening line of Act 3, scene 4. From this, the audience can see that the mood is formal. It also suggests that the guests at the banqueting hall have to sit in order of importance which emphasises the idea of hierarchy and the concept of the Divine Right that the King is appointed by God. Later in this scene, the audience would be terrified by Macbeth's crimes and the consequences for him. He is the central character and is formal but not to serious with the guests. He "will mingle with society" which hints that he will talk to all of the guests and be a "humble host". Lady Macbeth is then introduced in the scene and imitates the acts of Macbeth by welcoming the guests and making them feel welcome in their home. ...read more.


The audience however know the truth about Banquo so the action in the scene makes it intense. A key stage direction is used in the play to show "The ghost of Banquo" entering the banqueting hall. The guests are asking Macbeth to sit down with them, but Macbeth sees no empty chair, as the ghost is sitting there. "Here is a place reserv'd, sir" "...Where" describes the confusion between the characters. The mood and atmosphere suddenly changes when Macbeth becomes angry with the ghost "Thou canst not say I did it" this clearly highlights the guilt that Macbeth has, but would also raise suspicion amongst the guests. This would clearly disturb the others, a feeling reflected in the audience, and they would begin to suspect him. Lady Macbeth quickly commands the people to stay calm, and stay in their seats. She reassures the guests that there is nothing to worry about and that Macbeth's "fit is momentary". Clearly the audience can see Lady Macbeth is devious and quick-witted to think of something that would get Macbeth out of trouble. Lady Macbeth is a strong character and challenges Macbeths' manhood. ...read more.


"Almost at odds with morning, which is which" time no longer has any meaning for her as she is becoming confused and is showing signs of insanity. The audience may suspect that this is from all the guilt and now the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have changed as she used to be the stronger character. Macbeth says that he must return to the "weird sisters" as they will tell him what the future holds for him. This contains some irony from Macbeth as he was afraid of the supernatural but now relies on the agents of evil that led him down this path in the first place. As the scene concludes, the audience can clearly see the murderous nature of Macbeth and how he has grow stronger throughout the act. He feels that he no longer needs Lady Macbeth but before she protected him from failure. "My strange and self-abuse is the initiate fear that wants hard use: we are yet but young indeed" explains how Macbeth feels pain and guilt because of the murders but more shockingly says that to stop this feeling he must practise more murders. In conclusion, Shakespeare effectively presents the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth successfully. They successfully create dramatic scenes for the audience and highlight important themes throughout Act Three Scene four. ...read more.

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