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How effective is Shakespeare in holding the audience's attention in the Banquet Scene? Introduction

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English Coursework on "Macbeth" How effective is Shakespeare in holding the audience's attention in the Banquet Scene? Introduction Shakespeare, although a superb storyteller, was not a historian but he did realise that historical events could provide very good material for plays. Macbeth was a real Scottish Lord who was born in 1005 and elected King of Scotland. Shakespeare used this character on which to base his play. However, Shakespeare also changed the story line of his play to make it more appealing to his audience. He made Macbeth into an ambitious warlord who kills a good King in order to gain power. He also includes the character of Banquo in the play, again another real Scottish Lord from whom James I, King of Scotland and England at the time Shakespeare wrote the play, was supposed to be descended. So Shakespeare immediately has made his play appealing to royalty and Jacobean audiences who were very interested in the role of their King, who had not long ascended to the throne of England when the play was written. ...read more.


However, it is not long before he brings on the First Murderer to tell Macbeth that Banquo has been killed, but Fleance has escaped. Macbeth has to step aside from his guests to speak to him. This event is the start of the build up of dramatic tension in the scene. The appearance of the murderer would shock the audience as it would be odd for this to happen in real life and it shows that Macbeth is ruthless enough to risk being seen with such a character. Shakespeare builds the tension and excites the audience even more by introducing the supernatural into the scene: 'Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO and sits in Macbeth's place.' The audience have just been shown that Banquo has been murdered. Imagine their shock when the character reappears as a ghost. Shakespeare also uses this appearance to change Macbeth's character dramatically. Up until that point Macbeth had been strong but when Banquo's ghost appears he weakens, but this is also when Lady Macbeth's character grows stronger. ...read more.


The beginning is where Macbeth is trying to impress in his new role and create order and stability. The middle is where the ghost appears and he loses control, and the end is where the Banquet breaks down in chaos and Macbeth admits to being so evil that he can never go back. 'I am in blood Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er.' This is a very strong statement from Macbeth, admitting that he has shed so much blood that it is easier to carry on doing so rather than stop and turn around. By contrast, Lady Macbeth is showing signs of the strain. Her sentences become shorter and she admits that she does not know what is night or day, what is right or wrong. 'What is the night?' 'Almost at odds with morning, which is which.' In conclusion, Shakespeare uses a variety of methods to hold his audience's attention effectively. These range from the use of the supernatural, topical events and historical characters to using Jacobean society's beliefs in a scene packed with action and excitement. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 1 ...read more.

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