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Explain how the part of Macbeth should be played to show how he reacts to events and how his relationship with Lady Macbeth develops in this scene.

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Explain how the part of Macbeth should be played to show how he reacts to events and how his relationship with Lady Macbeth develops in this scene. Act two scene two is very significant to the play, as this is where the tragedy of Macbeth really begins. Up until then, Macbeth can still change his mind, but after this scene there is no going back for either him or Lady Macbeth. It marks the point when Macbeth changes from a national hero, loyal to his King and country, into a liar, a murderer and a traitor who embarks on a course of evil that will eventually cause his death. All of this takes place because of ambition, both his own and Lady Macbeth's. The scene is highly dramatic and full of tension, and although we do not actually witness the murder of King Duncan, it has to be the most violent and intense part of the play. This is the first of many murders to come, and we can only guess that Shakespeare chose to have Macbeth kill Duncan offstage to increase the tension by letting the audience use their imagination to supply the bloody details. The story so far is that Macbeth and Banquo, co-leaders of the Scottish army, whilst returning from a successful battle, are met by three "weird sisters". These sisters, who would definitely have been thought of as witches by Jacobean audiences, give several prophecies in the form of riddles, predicting that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, and later King. Macbeth recoils at this news, and it could be interpreted that this is because he has already a great ambition to become King, and hearing the witches voice aloud what he has been pondering shocks him. They tell Banquo that he will not be King, but that his children will be Kings in the future. They also predict that he will be "lesser than Macbeth and greater, not so happy and yet much happier". ...read more.


The fact that Macbeth still holds the daggers intensifies the uneasiness felt in the scene. His hands are covered in blood, making the drama explosive. When Macbeth sees the blood on his hands as he points toward the second chamber, he should shudder as he says "This is a sorry sight". His voice should be full of remorse for what he has done, and he should hang his head with shame and regret. His hands should be shaking. Lady Macbeth tries to reassure him, saying, "A foolish thought to say a sorry sight". This should be said in a falsely bright tone of voice, as if to say "Look this is what we wanted, now you can fulfil your dream of becoming King." However, Macbeth pays her no attention, as thoughts of the murder plague his mind. He should appear transfixed, and very troubled by his actions, as he stares back into space, and tells himself more than Lady Macbeth, about the two people who woke up and prayed, while he was walking past their door. As he says these lines, he should raise his voice, and begin to talk frantically, ignoring Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth, while he is doing this, should be worried about someone hearing him, and anxiously trying to shut him up. She should be following him around the stage, but not looking at him. She should be more preoccupied with looking around into the shadows, anxious about getting caught. Macbeth should shout the words "hangman's hands" in horror, and look at his hands, which should now be shaking uncontrollably. He should say the words "but wherefore could I not pronounce 'Amen'?" quieter and pleadingly, and fall to his knees in anguish. He should be nearly in tears as he says the next lines "I had most need of blessing and 'Amen' stuck in my throat" , meaning that he would need a blessing for what he was about to do, but he obviously was not given one as he could not pronounce the word "Amen". ...read more.


who sleepwalks in the night, washing her hands over and over, reliving this night in an attempt to cleanse herself of the guilt. With the repetition of the knocks, Lady Macbeth becomes more and more agitated and she should speak in a very highly pitched and nervous voice. However, she still manages to keep her head and tries to speed up Macbeth, who appears to be losing his mind. She tries to usher her disturbed husband to their chamber, where they can rid themselves of the signs of their guilt, but he is still in turmoil over the events of the night and keeps staring into space. In the end, she literally has to drag him off stage. As Macbeth says his final line, he should turn to the direction from which the sound of the knocking is coming and shout in utter despair "Wake Duncan with thy knocking, I would thou couldst." His remorse is now at it's peak, and as the scene ends, the audience would probably be speechless. This scene is definitely pivotal to the story of Macbeth, as everything else that happens throughout the entire play seems to be a result of, or revolve around this particular scene. Not only is it important because it contains the first murderous act, but it also conveys to the audience the beginning of the rapid disintegration of the relationship between the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Their relationship changes in this scene from a trusting one in which both considered each other equal, into one where they lie to each other and neither of them involves the other in their actions. All of the themes of the play are illustrated in this single scene; treason, the supernatural, ambition, light vs. dark, and good vs. evil, and this also shows just how important the scene is. It provides the events on which the whole play is based and after it has taken place, nothing is the same. Jenni Walsh - 1 - ...read more.

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