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

How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension inAct 2 Scene 1 and 2?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in Act 2 Scene 1 and 2? In this essay I will discuss how Shakespeare uses dramatic tension in Act 2 Scene 1 and 2, and the effects it has on the audience. In the first scene, Banquo and his son, Fleance, are on their way to bed after a leaving King Duncan in his room, in Macbeth's castle. On their way they meet Macbeth with a servant, in the courtyard. Banquo brings up in the conversation how he can't sleep properly after hearing the witches prophesy. Macbeth hints that he looks for Banquo's support in future, but Banquo makes it clear that he will only act honourably. As soon as Macbeth is alone, he imagines that he sees a dagger, which is leading him to Duncan's room. Macbeth's mind is in turmoil as whether to commit the murder or not. When he hears the signal his mind is made up, and he goes to Duncan's room to murder him. In the second scene, Lady Macbeth has finished making the preparations for Duncan's murder and is waiting for Macbeth to return. When Macbeth returns, he's distracted. He has murdered Duncan, and is now plagued with thoughts of his eternal damnation. Lady Macbeth instantly takes control of the situation and tells Macbeth to pull himself together, before someone finds out what he has done. He then reveals to daggers which he has brought away with him from Duncan's room, this potentially endangers the plan. When he refuses to take them back, as he can't face what he has done, Lady Macbeth agrees to do it for him. Once she returns, with blood-stained hands, the silence is disturbed by a succession of loud bangs at the Castle gates. They both panic and devise a plan, to put on their nightclothes and go to bed, which would alleviate all suspicion from them. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth herself has also had some wine, but she feels bold and fierce, not drunk and sleepy. Not only did Lady Macbeth drug the grooms, she made sure that they were fast asleep and that the doors to the King's bedchamber were open. Then she rang the bell to summon Macbeth. Because of all that she has done, she can practically see each step Macbeth takes. As she waits to discover if Macbeth has done the murder, she hears something, the screech of an owl. [5]"Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, Which gives the sternest good-night. He is about it". When she says "Hark!" she's telling herself to listen, and then when she says "Peace!" she's telling herself to be quiet, so that she can hear what she's listening for. The cry of an owl was thought to announce a death, and a "fatal bellman" was a night watchman who rang a bell at midnight to call a prisoner to his hanging. and she takes that as a good omen, because the owl is nature's own "fatal bellman". This creates tension as we suspect that Macbeth is committing murder. Lady Macbeth is glad to hear the cry of the owl, believing that it signifies, her husband must be "about it," committing the murder at that very moment. Now, where Macbeth waited for his wife's bell, she waits for the news that he has killed the King. Suddenly she hears Macbeth, [6]"Who's there? what ho!" Just as Lady Macbeth thinks she heard something, so now Macbeth thinks he hears someone, and he's trying to check it out. Immediately, Lady Macbeth assumes the worst, that the grooms have awakened before the murder has been done, and that all will be lost. This causes tension as Lady Macbeth doubts her husband which she has never done before, and becomes nervous, worrying the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

He's unresponsive, and seems lost in his thoughts. She tells him to snap out of it, but he can't. As he is being led away, by Lady Macbeth, he says that, [22]"To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself". This means that if he fully understands what he has done, he will see what a monster he has become, and he doesn't want to know that monster. He is in denial. As we hear the knocking again, Macbeth wishes none of it had ever happened, and he calls out [23]"Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!". This shows that Macbeth fells that he is still not to blame. This creates tension due to Macbeth's denial, he may lay the blame on Lady Macbeth, this would cause tension in their marriage and may cause her to control Macbeth, more than she already does. Throughout these two scenes Shakespeare creates tension by creating a dark, intense, sinister atmosphere, he sets the scene. This makes you expect that something sinister will take place. The doubt and then denial that plagues Macbeth, also causes some tension as to whether he will go ahead with the murder. This build up makes the scene much more intense. Macbeth's denial worries the audience that Macbeth will tell someone what he did, because he can't accept or live with his actions. The murder is a weight on his conscience. The breakdown of Iambic pentameter, stresses how everything Macbeth once had, pride and loyalty, has now been lost. Macbeth's obsession with blood and his wife's sudden doubt in him, causes the audience to worry if Macbeth will go mad and tell someone what he has done or get caught. These tensions make these scenes more dramatic which allows the audience to feel more involved, like in Macbeth's soliloquy. People get an insight into his mind, and deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings. These tensions make the play much more intense and believable. Therefore allowing people to shows some sympathy and associate more with the characters. ...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

    How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in act 2 scene 2 of Macbeth?

    5 star(s)

    Shakespeare uses symbolism and metaphors in this quote alone to create a vivid image of a hellish scene - the owl representing the death - perhaps of Macbeth himself in the long-term, or possibly it is in reference to Duncan when he died, although we could safely discount that element

  2. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in Act 2, scene 2 of Macbeth?

    The intense dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth reveals information about the dynamic of their relationship. In this scene there seems to be a gender role reversal to the couple; Macbeth appears to be feminine in his worrying and outward showing of guilt while his wife remains detached and cool, only showing guilt subconsciously.

  1. What impression do you get of Macbeth from the First Act?

    worthy gentleman!' Yet whilst we are getting this brilliant impression it seems that Macbeth is very bloodthirsty: 'his brandish'd steel Which smok'd with bloody execution', 'carv'd out his passage' 'Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps And fix'd his head upon our battlements' The word 'carv'd implies craftsmanship and skill, familiarity with what he is doing.

  2. Macbeth - How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 2, scenes 1 and 2?

    The recurring semantic field of death keeps on reminding the audience of the impending murder. Macbeth's personification of murder undoubtedly creates a lot of tension. The audience can feel this tension as Macbeth describes the murder as a person. I think tension is very high at this point in the play because Macbeth appears to be verging on madness.

  1. A comparison of the Dagger scene, Act 2, Scene 1, from 'Macbeth' as presented ...

    The audience instantly knows what Macbeth is seeing, and we do not have to guess or work out what it is he is talking about. At this point in the play, Macbeth is left alone with his guilty conscience as he struggles with a vision of an imaginary dagger in

  2. Explain what Act 1, Scene 7 tells us about the characters of Macbeth and ...

    that of persuading Macbeth to go forward and carry out his promise. In the Scene, Lady Macbeth is quick to point out the original plan was deceived by Macbeth: "That made you break this enterprise to me?". She is accusing Macbeth of breaking a promise, made from husband to wife.

  1. How Does Shakespeare use language to create atmosphere in Act 2 Scene 1 and ...

    In his soliloquy to the audience the words, "Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand?" suggests that Macbeths images are haunting and persuading him to commit the murder, as if he has no control over his own actions.

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    COMPARE AND CONTRAST? In drama, it is more accurate to study the main character in relation to the roles that he/she/it plays and his/hers/its relationship to other characters. Macbeth VS Banquo 1. PARALLEL characters Characters which are very similar to one another Why?

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