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How does Shakespeare use act 3 scene 4 to show his audience the extent to which Macbeth has declined since the beginning of the play?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use act 3 scene 4 to show his audience the extent to which Macbeth has declined since the beginning of the play? Throughout act 3 scene 4 Shakespeare uses the conventions of a tragic hero and historical devices to demonstrate how Macbeth's control and mental stability has declined from the beginning of the play. Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as confident and self-assured about his status as king at the very beginning of the scene. However Shakespeare uses the elements of a tragic hero to render how much he has actually declined. We can also see that Shakespeare uses the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to demonstrate another means to his decline. At the very beginning of the scene Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as powerful and in complete control, however we can see that this is all an act and Shakespeare uses this technique to perhaps to show the audience how far he has declined. Macbeth uses imperative language to speak to the lords at the banquet, as the audience we see that Macbeth has a power over the lords as that of a true king, " your know your own degrees sit down" we also see that Macbeth has great potential as a king when he displays a democratic side to him as he tells the lords, " both sides are even : here I'll sit in the mid'st" saying this Macbeth's ploy is to show that he is fair and believes that although he is king he will still sit side by side with ...read more.

Middle

When he hears that Fleance has escaped from the murderers Macbeth describes himself as being "cabined, cribbed, and confined" as well as Shakespeare using alliteration to articulate his shock and change in emotion this repetition of the "c's" could also possibly show his inner guilt.. In the film version, the camera is shot up close to Macbeth's face and shows the audience Macbeth's feeling of claustrophobia. This could imply to the audience that the shock of having his throne and status at threat would be the cause of his decline and this was not what Macbeth would stand for, as the audience I felt that Macbeth had a clear hate for Fleance, Shakespeare did this by using metaphors to describe Banquo and his son "there the grown serpent lies, the worm that's fled" I felt this may have been significant to a Jacobean audience because Macbeth being king would be at the top of The Great Chain Of Being, which (would have been very significant in Shakespeare's time), and Macbeth describing Fleance as the worm would have made him just below the birds but only one platform higher than the plants. Here Shakespeare was showing that Macbeth had a strong dislike towards Fleance for being in the witches prophecy and threatening his place as king, Macbeth has declined so much that he has become petty and destructive. Shakespeare uses his technique of tragic irony to show the extent to which Macbeth is declining. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the play we see that Shakespeare has built Macbeth into an absolute tragic hero and at the end he reaches a catharsis where he realises his wrongs and is almost cleansed by it, "I'm already guilty of killing your whole family". this exemplifies that Macbeth can admit to what he has done and sees that he has wronged when he says that he is guilty of it. Shakespeare also reminds the audience of the Macbeth we saw at first who cared for his country "take the water of my land, find her disease and purge it to a sound and pristine health" this demonstrates to the audience that he cares for the country or that he just wants it to fight for him. But now as the audience we see he warlike courage that we only heard of from other characters, instead of cowardly killing people in their sleep or getting murderers to do it for him he has now put on his amour and decided to go face to face in battle. Throughout act three scene four we see that a lot of Macbeth's actions are a result to him declining and that the reason for his decline is that of ambition. Shakespeare uses duality with Macbeth where we see his good side and bad side and how good does not always overcome the evil. Throughout the scene Shakespeare uses many symbols such as blood symbolising Macbeth's guilt and darkness symbolising evil and light good. From the scene we can see that Macbeth went from trying to appear as a good leader to becoming instable, reckless and melodramatic. ...read more.

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