• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine carefully the ways in which Shakespeare presents the murder of Duncan to the audience. How does this scene differ from others in the play and how does it affect the audiences' feelings towards Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine carefully the ways in which Shakespeare presents the murder of Duncan to the audience. How does this scene differ from others in the play and how does it affect the audiences' feelings towards Macbeth? The murder of Duncan is the first murder committed in the play, but before it is committed the audience are given their first impressions of each character, which affect the way in which the audience feel and react to the characters actions. Within the first two scenes, the audience see Macbeth to be a good, honest man who is highly thought of by the King and who is willing to die in battle for his country. "But all's too weak, For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)" Act 1 Scene 2, line 16 It is not until scene 3 that Macbeth's sinister character begins to reveal. When he is first told of the witches' prophecies, he fails to believe what he is being told. However when Macbeth is informed that he is to be made Thane of Cawdor he begins to believe that they may also be correct in that he is to be made the King after Duncan. His thoughts begin to reflect his greed that now he is Thane of Cawdor, he sees no reason to wait to become King, even though Duncan has not yet named his heir. From here murderous thoughts start to fill Macbeth's mind as he admits the evil inside of him. The audience at this point would be shocked that Macbeth is contemplating killing Duncan after he has been so good to him, rewarding him with Thane of Cawdor. ...read more.

Middle

The use of emotional blackmail by Lady Macbeth shows her evil nature and is blinded by power and greed. Macbeth retaliates by claiming that he shall not be a real man if he insists on killing an old man in cold blood. However, Lady Macbeth still insists on using more emotional blackmail, telling of how she would rather dash out the brains of a baby than go back on her word. There is only one argument left for Macbeth, and that is by enquiring what would happen if they fail, but Lady Macbeth insists that they will not fail. From here, Lady Macbeth informs Macbeth of the plan she has prepared, telling of how she shall get the guards drunk, so that their memory "Shall be a fume" and so when Macbeth kills Duncan he shall be unguarded. Macbeth begins to warm to the plan, to which the audience would be horrified. Banquo is used as a contrast to Macbeth's character soon after Macbeth has decided that he shall kill the king. Banquo would never betray his king, unlike Macbeth. The dagger scene shows the effect of the plan to kill Duncan on his mind. Macbeth hallucinates that a dagger, with the handle facing towards him, appears before him. The dagger moves towards Duncan's room as if to show him what to do, and as the dagger is covered in blood, this also is a sign of what he must do. The power of evil is working his mind now and he is not completely in control of himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth is genuinely horrified to hear of the death of Lady Macduff. Later one in the play it can be seen that the murder of Duncan has a psychological effect on her mind. She begins to sleepwalk and whilst doing so she appears to be attempting to wash blood from her hands. This would represent Duncan's blood as she tries to rid her conscience of guilt. At the same time it would appear that she is being told to confess her sins. Shakespeare uses the doctor and the gentlewoman to direct the audience's reactions and feelings towards Lady Macbeth. The audience would take pity on Lady Macbeth. "What is it she does now? Look how she rubs herhands." (Doctor) Act 5 Scene 1, line 23 "It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands" (Gentlewoman) Act 5 Scene 1, line 24 The supernatural plays a major part in 'Macbeth'. At the time 'Macbeth' was written, people believed in many aspects of the supernatural. King James believed strongly in witchcraft. The apparitions and the prophecies were the main use of supernatural in 'Macbeth'. The apparitions were who were believed to blame for the hallucination of the dagger. The murder of Banquo also features many aspects of the supernatural. The ghost of Banquo appears at Macbeth's banquet. In Elizabethan times, ghosts were used to represent two things - revenge and betrayal. Shakespeare makes use of both of these with the murder of Duncan. Banquo's ghost appearing shows the guilt that Macbeth feels, as it is on his obviously on his mind. Lady Macbeth believing that it is Duncan's ghost shows her guilt of the murder of Duncan. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    What are our first impressions of Lady Macbeth and how does Shakespeare create them ...

    3 star(s)

    She seems much more confident in the plan than the man of the castle does.

  2. How does Shakespeare Present the Supernatural in Macbeth?

    Sweet bodements, good." At the end of the scene Macbeth only trusts himself and he decides that Macduff's family are to be slaughtered along with anyone else in the castle. He does not want his kingship taken away from him.

  1. Macbeth: How does Shakespeare dramatise the murder of Duncan in Act II Scenes (i) ...

    which is almost scornful of him, as one might scold a child. However her efforts are soon to turn out futile, as Macbeth get so wrapped up in his own emotion that he barely seems to register she is there.

  2. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    This would give Shakespeare's audience the perception that Macbeth has joined the side of the devil, and that he can no longer worship God; once again, this ties in with the theme of the Divine Right of Kings. A modern day audience may consider that in fact it is Macbeth's

  1. Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play

    soldier, it is rather Lady Macbeth who is the driving force in their relationship. Lady Macbeth's language in this scene is very forceful, almost masculine '...pour my spirits in thine ear/ And chastise with the valour of my tongue' is a very dramatic line.

  2. The letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth

    Regicide scares Macbeth as people will get there revenge on him. The audience would have been fearful of the supernatural forces as it was thought of seriously but today the audience would not be that concerned. The factors of regicide and witchcraft set the play and they are the main reasons for Macbeths rise and demise to power.

  1. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    The worst phrase, however, describes prostitute giving birth to a baby in a ditch, and then strangling it to death. This is terrible as the baby is unloved; the mother has no kind of care for it, and so kills it.

  2. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    The 'suffering country' is Scotland, and it is under the cursed hand of Macbeth, whom it is felt must be disposed of. What Lennox says is representative of what many other characters think of Macbeth. Scotland has become the battleground for the fight of good versus evil.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work