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How Does Shakespeare Build up Dramatic Tension in Act 2 Scene 2

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Between the times of 1603 and 1606 a wonderful play was written called 'Macbeth' by a man called William Shakespeare who discovered the original story in a book called 'History of Scotland.' It was written in the times when King James I was king of both England and Scotland, which is where the play is set, so it was written with his interest in mind. So having him in mind Shakespeare wrote it to include themes that both concerned and interested King James I. What interested him was the supernatural like witchcraft, apparitions (hallucinations) and ghosts. It was seen as a colossal crime to practice witchcraft, so Shakespeare's audience most likely saw the witches as evil servant of the devil and Macbeth's dealings with them would have probably been seen as a monstrous sin and crime. James the first believed in the Divine Right of Kings, which is the belief that the monarchy were appointed by God and were put on the earth to rule His deputies. James I also felt any attempt to change the natural order pronounced by God was like double crossing God and would end up causing chaos and confusion. ...read more.


The most important thing, however, is Lady Macbeth is calm and in control and Macbeth is not. Another way Shakespeare builds up tension is Act 2 Scene 2 is the imagery. For instance Shakespeare gives you the horrible image of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth covered in King Duncan's blood after the murder. Shakespeare doesn't write about how the murder was but Macbeth comes back covered in blood with bloody daggers, which is leaving the goings on of the murder to your imagination, and since Macbeth came back bloody Lady Macbeth says to him, "Go get some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand." Macbeth was also supposed to plant the daggers on the guards, but instead brought them back, which is why Lady Macbeth says "Go carry, the daggers, and smear the sleepy grooms with blood" and Macbeth says "I'll go no more: I am afraid, to think what I have done look o'nt again, I dare not." So Lady Macbeth had to take the daggers back herself and get bloody. When she comes back she says to Macbeth "My hands are of the colour: but I shame to wear a heart so white" Which is calling Macbeth a coward or cat. ...read more.


The voice said something else that made Macbeth worried "Sleep no more to all the House: Glamis hath murther'd sleep, and therefore cawdor sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more." Sleep is a privilege only the innocent deserve and Macbeth is not innocent so he doesn't deserve sleep. Macbeth is also unable to say Amen we know this from when he says "I had most need of blessing, and Amen stuck in my throat" which means he feels guilty and reminds the audience of the monstrosity of a crime he has committed by killing the king, (regicide), which in those days was like going against Gods authority. Macbeth not being able to say Amen was another sign reminding the audience that he has committed a major crime and upset the natural order and will be punished severely which largely increases the tension. Shakespeare created tension in a variety of ways in Act 2 Scene 2 'Macbeth.' The most effective way, however, is the imagery but there are more ways. For example the sound effects, the length of the sentences and the punctuation. Not many writers can create tension with sound effects in a book but Shakespeare definitely can which is a good characteristic for a writer. If Shakespeare created tension in his plays so well imagine if he lived long enough to make a movie. BY: KALLAI JOHNSON-HIBBERT 11.5 ...read more.

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