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How does Shakespeare build and sustain suspend leading up to and during the murder of King Duncan?

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William Kenny 11A English Question: How does Shakespeare build and sustain suspend leading up to and during the murder of King Duncan? You should think about: > The plot and structure, how events unfold > How characters develop > How events must be staged and the impact on the audience > The moral aspect to the play Shakespeare would have written this for a Jacobean audience, who believed strongly in the existence of witches and witchcraft and loved the idea of their world being threatened by evil. Shakespeare would have written this play with the thought of the current King, James I (who also loved witchcraft), in mind and would have portrayed him as a loving and merciful King. Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' is set in Elizabethan Scotland. It is a tragedy that involves a king and his noblemen. The king in the story was King Duncan, who was a wise and kind king who placed his trust easily in others. The main character in the play, Macbeth, is one of the kings most trusted noblemen. Macbeth was currently Thane of Glamis and had great ambition to become something more. ...read more.


Near the end of the scene Macbeth finds out that he is Thane of Cawdor. This makes the audience believe that the last prophesy must come true, that Macbeth will become King. In act one scene four Macbeth is greeted by King Duncan and congratulated on his recent promotion to Thane of Glamis and Cawdor. But this scene is not so innocent for long, when King Duncan announces that his son, Malcolm, will take his place on the thrown Macbeth sees this as another obstacle in his way to becoming King. Shakespeare uses soliloquies to show when Macbeth, or another character, is thinking but needs the audience to hear it. "that is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, for in my way it lies". Lady Macbeth, a key character to Macbeth's success to the thrown is introduced in act one scene five. Lady Macbeth is very loyal and faithful to her husband and helps to keep him strong. When Lady Macbeth reads the letter that her husband had written her we see Macbeth's desire to become King because of the witches' prophesies. ...read more.


This shows Macbeth's mental anguish. The dagger is pointing towards the chamber of King Duncan, implying his murder. The dagger suddenly becomes covered with blood, as if to show the horror that is about to occur. This is the scene that the story has been building up to, act two scene two. This is the most exciting scene so far and has a lot of tension in it. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are whispering, which creates suspense and lures the audience into the play. Lady Macbeth has drugged the guards and laid out the daggers ready for Macbeth to use. She says, "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't". This makes the audience see King Duncan in an even more sympathetic light because we now see him as a father figure as well as a king and gentle King and friend. After Macbeth has killed Duncan he and Lady Macbeth are both paranoid and are dreadfully frightened by every sound they hear. Macbeth tells us that when he watched two men saying their prayers that he couldn't say Amen. This would be showing that God is angry with Macbeth for challenging the world order. All these events leading up to the murder of Duncan create suspense within the play. ...read more.

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