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How Does Shakespeare Create Tension and Atmosphere In the Play?

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HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE CREATE TENSION AND ATMOSPHERE IN THE PLAY? Shakespeare creates atmosphere and tension in a number of ways. Throughout the essay I will cover the main ways in which he does this in MacBeth. As it is a play, a lot of the dramatic action relies on the quality and opinions of the actors and how they portray the character or a particular scene, as even the slightest raising of the voice would command the audiences attention as would a sudden movement or a gap of silence. A lot of the same things rely on the director, and how he has chosen to portray scenes and organise costume and scenery. Although this is all very important the main way the tone of a scene is set is through the language used. Immediately from the opening scene of the play the mood is set. The witches, accompanied by the pathetic fallacy of thunder, which follows them throughout the play, give the audience a good idea of what sort of play it is going to be. ...read more.


Dark is frequently used to make things seem mysterious and often heinous. Similarly most of the murders in the play are done under the cover of night. Yet another situation which the audience associate with evil. The witches are also very strongly associated to evil and as all the grief and murder in the play stems from their intervention Shakespeare is reiterating their link to evil. This can be scene in Act 1 Scene 1. Recurring words are used in the same way as association, by repeating certain words Shakespeare draws attention to them, wanting the audience to pick up on them and by doing this he lets them repeat the mood again and again. The words which occur frequently are: blood, sleep, time, fear, night, man, done, snake and hecate. Due to the nature of these words the association which lies with them increases the mood and tone of Macbeth's situations. Another form of repetition can be seen in Act 5 Scene 1, By repeating other peoples words, Lady Macbeth recalls important instances of the play. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth's influence over her husband in the beginning creates a tension which makes the audience eager for MacBeth to go against her wishes, and as they grow apart tension between them is created as Lady Macbeth wants to know what her husband is doing, and he increasingly shuts her out. Elizabethan audiences would have found Lady MacBeths dominance over her husband strange, and when she questions his manliness in Act 3 scene 5, they would be curios to his reaction. Another instance of relationships, creating dramatic tension, is when MacBeth has decided to kill Banquo, before he leaves, to be killed by the hit-men, the sycophantic actions of MacBeth and his wife would turn the audience against the MacBeths further. All of these factors contribute to the tension and atmosphere of the play, making the play far more interesting and exiting to watch and giving insight into characters and a depth to the play. GCSE Coursework Sarah Duggan L51 5th Nov 00 ...read more.

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