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How does William Shakespeare Builds Up Tension In Macbeth?

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How does William Shakespeare Builds Up Tension In Macbeth? Act 2, scene 1, introduces us to Banquo and Fleance, his son. The witches have also disturbed Banquo for he calls for his sword will crossing Macbeth's courtyard after hearing a noise. Banquo is afraid to go sleep in case he dreams about committing immoral deeds. He then asks the "merciful powers to protect his unconscious mind" from thinking evil thoughts. This shows he is resisting the temptation that the witches have planted in his mind. He then says to Macbeth "I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters. To you they have shown some truth" Macbeth then replies, telling a blatant lie "I think not of them". Even know we know Banquo and Macbeth are good friends Macbeth still lies to Banquo making him even more suspicious of Macbeth. Macbeth then tries to find out, without making it to obvious, whether he can involve Banquo in his plot to become king. Mabeth also shows signs of stress for he replies very little to Banquo and when he is alone the strain clearly shows. When Macbeth hallucinates, seeing a dagger, "a dagger of the mind, a false creation", The Soliloquy starts by Macbeth talking to himself saying, "is this a dagger I see before me. ...read more.


This scene takes place at night; I feel the darkness represents what is unnatural, cruel and evil. Everything that happens within the play appears to revolve around this particular scene. Not only is this important because it contains the murderous act, it also conveys to the audience the rapid disintegration of the relationship between the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The tension increases dramatically when we see Lady Macbeth pacing about in a nervous but excited state, awaiting Macbeth's return. We get a peek at Lady Macbeth's softer side. She says that she would have killed Duncan herself, but the old man looked too much like her father. This small reminder of Lady Macbeth's humanity will be important to our understanding of what happens to her at the end of the play. As she waits, she decides that she heard a screech owl, and she takes that as a good omen, because the screech owl is nature's own 'fatal bellman'. A 'fatal bellman' would emphasize the idea of death/ execution in the audience's minds, which makes it even more eerie, 'He's at it'. This particular part of this scene has to be the climax of the play. ...read more.


A midst all this tension, Lady Macbeth keeps her head. In her highly nervous state, she is aware that it is still possible; that their evil acts may be discovered. Lady Macbeth returns the bloodstained daggers to Duncan's grooms. Shakespeare makes the audience aware of how much more confident than Macbeth she is by taking control of the situation. Macbeth is still in turmoil after the murder of Duncan. Shakespeare makes it known that the relationship between Macbeth and his wife is beginning to disintegrate almost immediately. Macbeth appears to be losing his mind, whilst Lady Macbeth remains evil, cold, calculating and in control. The repetition of knocks increases the tension more so, Lady Macbeth appears agitated and ushers her disturbed husband to his chamber, where they can rid themselves of the signs of their horrific acts. Shakespeare's use of language and structure manages to create tension right up to the murder of King Duncan. He manages to gradually build it up and then release it a little, and then increase it until finally the act of regicide takes place. His use of dramatic irony, the supernatural and indecision all combine to keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout these scenes. His use of the right language in the right places helps the characters and the play to become really believable. ...read more.

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