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

How does Shakespeare make Act 2, Scenes 2 and 3 so exciting and dramatic

Extracts from this document...


How does Shakespeare make Act 2 Scenes 2 and 3 of Macbeth so exciting and dramatic? Macbeth is one of many plays and sonnets, written by William Shakespeare, and performed between 1606 and 1611. The play sees a reversal of fortune for King Macbeth of Scotland, following the regicide of King Duncan. Shakespeare uses a combination of themes and dramatic devices in order to excite his audience; many of which would have been particularly poignant in 17th Century Britain. I will explore the extent of these conventions in this essay. Historians know that Shakespeare based Macbeth on fact: 11th Century Scotland was indeed a violent and troubled country, which was divided into territories, which feuding families and clans fought to control. Political murder and regicide were commonplace at the time. 17th Century Britain was very much a patriarchal society; the typical stereotype of 'man', borne out of history would have been strived to be upheld. King James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, and was already King of Scotland at the time. Macbeth is said to have been performed before King James in 1606. One of the underlying themes of the play is Witchcraft, and the supernatural. King James was fascinated by Witchcraft; in 1597 he published 'Demonology'. A book on the subject, and ordered it's immediate printing after taking the throne. He was also a firm believer in the divine right of kings: that kings were second only to God, and that it was him who had entrusted his power in them to rule the country. ...read more.


Ambiguity is evident at the beginning of scene 3, because Macbeth begins to equivocate. In reply to Lennon's reference to the unnatural happenings of the previous night Macbeth simply states that "'twas a rough night". Shakespeare uses this equivocation in order to confuse the audience: is Macbeth referring to the murder of King Duncan?, or is he simply agreeing with Lennon? The word "rough" is effective, because it relates directly to Lennox's description of the "unruly" night, where "lamentings" could be "heard i'th'air, strange screams of death". The fact that Lennox uses the word 'death' is ironic because the audience knows that Duncan has recently been murdered. Lennox' speech is of great importance because it uses the supernatural in order to render the brutality of the regicide - thus highlighting the theme of guilt. Lennox goes on to describe "prophesying with accents terrible", by using the word "prophesying", Lennox makes reference to the supernatural, which is quite ironic, because Macbeth's future has in fact been prophesised by the Witches. Whether or not the Witches knew or intended that Macbeth murder Duncan is not known, however it is not important because of the fact that it is only him and Banquo that know about it. The fact that the natural order has been disrupted brings attention to the scale of the King Duncan's murder; to suggest that murdering a King would physically disrupt nature would have really excited the audience - especially King James, who was a believer in the divine right of kings. ...read more.


At first Macbeth agrees. But later Macbeth wavers in his decision, however Lady Macbeth is sure that being King is what Macbeth really wants and that this is the best for both of them. So, in response to Macbeth's uncertainty, Lady Macbeth manipulates him by questioning his manhood and his love for her. She is successful because regardless of his own conscience Macbeth carries out their plan of murder. Lady Macbeth is used purposely in order to further the theme of man, by playing on Macbeth's emotions. Her desire to be "unsexed here", would have thought to be a very profound request for a woman of noble birth to make. Through wishing to have her gender removed so that she could commit the ultimate crime: regicide, does show having the intent to do so is so unnatural and forbidden that she must have her sex removed and become a man in order to perform it. When Macbeth returns to their chamber she goes back to the murder scene and cleverly smears the grooms with Duncan's blood. However, her morals had prevailed just a while before as revealed through her comment that she would have killed Duncan herself had he not "resembled her father as he slept". The almost superhuman strength Lady Macbeth rallies for the occasion and her artful and sly ability are shown through her meticulous attention to detail regarding the murder. Even her name is ironic: the word 'Lady' brings with it certain connotations of good and saintly characteristics, however, this is a far cry from the character that Shakespeare manipulates for the audience. ...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. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    the business, but was convinced to go ahead with the deed by Lady Macbeth's emotive, persuasive and manipulative arguments. A feeling of pity can also be directed at Duncan, whom is about to be brutally slaughtered by his trusted kinsman and cousin.

  2. Macbeth: How does Shakespeare dramatise the murder of Duncan in Act II Scenes (i) ...

    which is almost scornful of him, as one might scold a child. However her efforts are soon to turn out futile, as Macbeth get so wrapped up in his own emotion that he barely seems to register she is there.

  1. What is the dramatic impact of Act 1 scenes 1 and 3 of Macbeth, ...

    witches the witches making greetings which later come true, the apparitions making prophecies which also come true, Macbeth seeing the ghost of Banquo and lady Macbeth calling upon spirits before the murder of Duncan. War and fighting is also introduced in this scene when the second witch says "when the

  2. Macbeth Act 2, Scene 1~2, How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    and the fact that he has resorted to despicable means of achieving his goal (to be King). They may also sympathise with Macbeth's character as he has been manipulated by his wife, Lady Macbeth. They audience will already be aware that in earlier scenes Macbeth refused to proceed further in

  1. Macbeth - Directing Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2

    After Macbeth has murdered the king and he returns with the bloody daggers, he seems to be nervous and edgy. His repeated question 'who's there? What ho?' indicates this. I would show this by making Macbeth speak his lines in a slow, shallow majestic voice with the words flowing slowly

  2. Examine the dramatic importance of Act 2 Scene 2

    On line fifteen Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth if he spoke, they then speak as if two worried minds run together, "Did you not speak?"

  1. Macbeth was first performed in 1606 in front of King James I at Hampton ...

    Witches The influences of the Witches' prophecies on Macbeth's actions in the tragedy are introduced right at the beginning of the play. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies. That Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and King.

  2. How did Shakespeare appeal to his audience, both in the 17th century, and in ...

    After the witches vanish, Macbeth starts speaking in really short sentences, which make him seem more thoughtful because we don't know what he's thinking in between his sentences. After Ross and Angus have left, Macbeth says a lot to the audience (soliloquies).

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