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How Does Shakespeare use language to create atmosphere in Act 2 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 2 of 'Macbeth'?

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare use language to create atmosphere in Act 2 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 2 of 'Macbeth'? The two scenes, one and two are based around the murder of King Duncan. The plot, orchestrated by the three witches, to make Macbeth and Lady Macbeth kill the king. The Three Witches did this to create chaos and confusion and they help persuade Macbeth to fulfill his ambitious intentions through their prophesies. In Act 2 Shakespeare uses language to create a feeling of suspicion and fear. This sets the scene and creates an atmosphere of foreboding and impending doom, which continues throughout the play. Act 2 is set at Macbeths Castle where Duncan is graciously received by the "honoured hostess" Lady Macbeth. The scene is set at night, although the play would be performed during the daytime through suspension of disbelief. Words such as "night", "moon", "candles" and "twelve", denote this. The audience senses an evil atmosphere through the narrative, "The moon is down" and " their candles are all out" which illustrates a feeling of darkness and malice. In Act 2 scene1, Banquo's anxiety is immediately apparent. ...read more.

Middle

The dagger he envisages is symbolic as it reflects the way in which Duncans murder is performed. Shakespeare uses rhetorical questions in Macbeth's soliloquy implying that Macbeth is confused and almost powerless to make the decision to murder Duncan. He uses blood imagery such as, "dudgeon gouts of blood" and "bloody business" to show how guilty Macbeth is feeling about murdering the King. At the end of the scene the rhyming couplet, "Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven, or to hell" is used to show that Macbeth has overcome his hesitation and has made the decision to kill Duncan. In Act 2 scene 2, when Lady Macbeth is waiting anxiously for Macbeth to return from the murder scene, her persuasion and determination is forgotten and she becomes nervous and tense. Shakespeare includes small sounds, which seem to be exaggerated creating an exciting and extremely tense scene. Vocabulary such as "It was the owl that shrieked", "I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry" and "I heard a voice cry" display the nervous and tense atmosphere after the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Imagery associated with blood is also used; the blood on Macbeth's hands is symbolic as it is also on his conscience and there is no turning back. Shakespeare uses language and imagery to suggest that Macbeths guilt takes control of his actions and he is unable to hide his real thought, whereas Lady Macbeth is portrayed as weak and nervous until Macbeth has done the deed. After he has committed the murder she becomes calm and organised, taking control of the situation. In Act 2, scene 1 and 2, Shakespeare uses many forms of language to create an atmosphere. He uses imagery related to sleep, blood, light, dark and guilt. These images create a tense and anxious atmosphere leading up to the murder of King Duncan. Shakespeare also uses rhyming couplets and alliteration to keep the audience interested in the play. It also creates an impression on their response to the events in the performance. In conclusion Shakespeare uses these conventions to suspend the readers disbelief, creating a surreal atmosphere throughout the play. His use of language and imagery helps to inspire and captivate the audience in constructing the mise en scene. Chris Brown ...read more.

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