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How does Shakespeare make the banquet scene dramatic for the audience?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare make the banquet scene dramatic for the audience? The banquet scene takes place near the middle of Shakespeare's world-famous play. All the action and drama happens in the hall, soon after the murder of king Duncan and Banquo. We find out at the beginning of the scene about Banquo's murder with the arrival of the 'murderer', whom Macbeth has paid to eliminate Banquo. The 'murderer' tells Macbeth that he slit Banquo's throat. As the scene progresses we see Macbeth's character develop and what seemed to have been a great occasion, turns into one of havoc and confusion. This all adds up to create an intensely dramatic scene. The Banquet is of great importance to Macbeth as it signifies his coming to power and represents his knighthood as king, even though Macbeth knows he is not the rightful king and has not been placed there by God (the Divine Right of Kings), but by evil means with help from the witches. This makes the scene more dramatic as the audience would be wondering if Macbeth could play the role of the King and not be discovered by the guests. In attendance would be some of the wealthiest and wisest Lords like Lennox and Ross, as well as his wife, who assisted in the destruction of the former king. ...read more.

Middle

The Lord's would be extremely shocked at Macbeth's strange question. But from where they are sitting all they can see is a vacant chair. However what they don't realise is that Macbeth is seeing Banquo's ghost on that chair and believes that one of them has played a trick on him. Macbeth is going mad, especially from where the audience is sitting, this would all add to the drama watching Macbeth slowly slipping away into insanity. The reader, again, may feel a slight sense of pity for Macbeth, who is slowly becoming more and more insane. The choice of dialogue accentuates this. Line 51 reads, "Never shake thy gory locks at me." The key word in this quote is 'gory'. Macbeth is speaking to Banquo as though he is the one who has done wrong, when in fact he is the sinner. Obviously, Banquo is still not really there, but Macbeth is continuing his conversation with the chair nevertheless. At this point, Lady Macbeth would be feeling annoyance towards Macbeth, who may end up telling the guests the truth unless he regains his composure. This suspense is all the more dramatic, especially as Lady Macbeth knows that there is a risk of her being caught for the murder of the king. She speaks to the guests, telling them that Macbeth is suffering from "a momentary fit". ...read more.

Conclusion

As Macbeth is aware, there is more killing to be done. This keeps us in suspense and makes us think that the play is going to get even more exciting than it already is. There are a few stage directions that also make the scene dramatic are, depending on how people decide to act it, Banquo's ghost may or may not be visible to the audience. Personally, I think it would be more effective if it was invisible, as this would highlight Macbeth's increasing fear and insanity, also the fact that the scene is set in the night is also significant as the murder scene was also set in darkness. The dark is often associated with evil, witchcraft and general spookiness. It all adds to the drama. With all the hallucinations and dialogue, the scene is very dramatic. At any one time you do not know what will happen next. It continually seems as if Macbeth, who is at his wits end, is going to admit to everything, but Lady Macbeth steps in with an excuse at the crucial moment but it seems only a matter of time until the truth is exposed. Some of the most dramatic points of the scene include the entrance of the murderer, the entrance of Banquo's ghost, the questioning of Macbeth's masculinity and the final line. Shakespeare has definitely been successful in creating a dramatic scene in this part of the play. AUSTIN HARPER L10B ...read more.

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