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How Does Shakespeare Create Fear and Tension In Act II, Scenes I and II, Of Macbeth. What Advantages Would A Modern Director Enjoy When Working With These Scenes?

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Create Fear and Tension In Act II, Scenes I and II, Of "Macbeth". What Advantages Would A Modern Director Enjoy When Working With These Scenes? Shakespeare's "Macbeth" is a tragedy set in 11th century Scotland, around the time at which the real Macbeth was alive. Shakespeare had at hand, during the period he was writing the play, Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland by Raphael Holinshed. Shakespeare had used this book in other history plays he wrote, in the book he found stories from Scotland, which he let his imagination run wild on. The book provided details of events, power, politics, characters and motivations. Shakespeare studied this text, altering and adding details to paint the overall picture that is "Macbeth". Macbeth had a good ten years of rule in Scotland but Shakespeare makes Macbeth a tyrant and focuses on his tortured mind, making the play darker and more mysterious. He does this by using strong adjectives when describing the scene and mood. For instance in Act I Scene I the location is "A Desolate Place" and the weather is dreary and horrible when the witches are in a scene with "Thunder and lightning" and the dark connotations with thunder and lightning come to mind, of witchcraft and demonic actions. Whenever the witches are on stage they are almost in a trance chanting and singing as if casting spells for example in (Act I Scene I Lines 1-4) "When shall we meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?" and "When the hurly-burly's done, when the battles lost or won." ...read more.

Middle

When the bell rings in the background it is sort of a wake up call to him and hypes him up as he shouts some fighting talk to Duncan "the bell invites me. Hear it not Duncan for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell", (Act II Scene I Line 62-64) he personifies the bell in this small piece as a bell couldn't invite someone and during the period a bell ringing was a ritual when someone had died, making the scene more scary as there was no sound before the bell apart from Macbeth speaking. I believe Shakespeare took the decision to have Duncan's murder happen off stage to create more tension because you don't see it happen Macbeth could have got the wrong person, and the whole thing could fall in on him. At the start of (Act II Scene II) Lady Macbeth is talking about her part and drugging the "possets" of the guards. Macbeth enters with the bloody daggers and is very wary but Lady Macbeth quickly turns very confident and happy when he is back until she finds out he brought the daggers back with him "Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready; he could not miss 'em" (Act II Scene II Line 11-12). Macbeth is very guilty and struck by fear, he is asking about whether there was any noise to be heard, but there was only the screech of an owl which can be quite a scary sound in the dead silence of the night. ...read more.

Conclusion

The very last line Macbeth has a lot of regret wishing that Duncan would awake and everything would be fine by saying "wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst" (Act II Scene II Line 77). During the play a director in the modern day would have a field day as it is so easy to create fear and tension in a live theatre. During the whole play I would always have the lights on very dim to add darkness and mystery to play. During the performance I would not use any special effects when Macbeth is going mad like when he sees the dagger as the performance would be more genuine and believable if only he can see it, I would do the same with the knocking at the end of Act II Scene II so as if they are going crazy and making the audience definitely believe that that is what is happening. For the sounds I would have Duncan being killed of stage just the audience can hear the plunging of the dagger into his chest cavity, the a dim spotlight on the stage with a dead Duncan sprawled out on the floor, then it would change to a panting Macbeth bloody and scared head down so you cannot see his face. For the props I would make the dagger beautiful and mystical as if forged by witchcraft, like its evil but you wouldn't believe anything so beautiful could do any harm. Even though all this could not be done in Shakespeare's time as plays would be during the day or early evening, although Shakespeare's stage directions are so precise and to the point. ...read more.

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