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Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates tension and suspense in Act 3 Scene 4

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Introduction

Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates tension and suspense in Act 3 Scene 4 Macbeth is a play which looks at one mans ambition to become king. In act 3 scene 4 Shakespeare uses many different ways to create tension and suspense within the scene. Shakespeare uses different linguistic and dramatic devices such as euphemisms, imagery, contrasting themes, language, Macbeth's emotions and entrances and exits to create this effect. Act 3 scene 4 is directly after the murder of Banquo. The murder of Banquo took place on a very dark evening which then contrasts with the following scene which is the cheerful banquet. This contrast in atmosphere helps to create tension as you do not expect the change but then you can see the effect on Macbeth's character later on in the scene. The banquet is in contrast with the previous scene and at the start of the scene Macbeth appears to be in control using many words like 'hearty welcome', and 'humble host.' Macbeth appears to be in control of his feelings until the murderer turns up. This is the first sign that Macbeth is not in a stable state of mind. The first murderer enters and informs Macbeth that Banquo has been murdered. ...read more.

Middle

After the ghost reappears and Macbeth has his first 'fit' Lady Macbeth tries to reassure the guests that he is okay and that he just needs a few minutes. Lady Macbeth can obviously see the state of Macbeth and is worried that he may say something about the murders so she has a quiet word with him and tries to pretend that everything is okay. When the ghost disappears and Macbeth tries to restore order but Lady Macbeth can now see Macbeth's true state of mind and how vulnerable he is at this time. Macbeth's character and feelings change a lot through the scene which could help to create tension and suspense as you never know how his mood will change next and how it will affect the scene. Throughout the whole scene Macbeths use of language helps to reflect his mood. At the start of the scene Macbeth says 'but now I am cabined, cribbed, confined.' This is use of alliteration and it reflects that Macbeth feels trapped and like he cannot escape. Later on in the scene Macbeth conveys images of evil when talking about Banquo and Fleance as he refers to them both as snakes which could represent evil as he is fearful of them and Fleances power as he escaped. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth then asks the worried guests to leave immediately. This worries the guests as they are not told what is going on and this could therefore create suspense and tension within the audience, as they may know more than the guests but they are still unsure what may happen with Macbeth's character and emotions. Once the guests have left Lady Macbeth talks to Macbeth about his behaviour as he tries to explain what happened, but it is still unclear in places. This is where the audience can see another major change in Macbeth's character. By the end of this scene Macbeth's personality is very different to how it was when the scene started. At the beginning of the scene Macbeth felt very in control and you could see this and the audience would be relaxed not expecting the sudden change. The appearance of the ghost changes the atmosphere but does not necessarily build tension. The suspense is built up during Macbeths two 'fits' as the audience do not fully understand what is going on, and as they try to understand the atmosphere it changes, so nothing is ever certain in this scene and this uncertainty creates lots of tension and suspense. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Barnett ...read more.

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