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How important is the banquet scene in this play as a whole?

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Introduction

How important is the banquet scene in this play as a whole? Before we are able to fully explore the importance of Act III, Scene IV, of Shakespeare's famous 'bloody' tragedy it is necessary to look briefly at what is meant as a tragedy for Shakespeare used tragic circumstances in order to give insight into lots of situations and help tell a story, usually with a moral attached. Although Macbeth is undoubtedly 'tragic' and one of the bloodiest and violent of Shakespeare's plays its tragic nature doesn't necessarily stem from the murders and grievances within the play. Shakespeare has used Macbeth's vulnerability and na�ve nature to portray tragic circumstances and to highlight the flaws within his character. Macbeth is a fascinating individual; he is transformed by evil from a strong and noble general to a king that will stop at nothing, including murder, to retain his throne and hence his power. However, he is rarely in control of a situation and from the beginning, when he encounters the three witches, deeply suspicious and afraid of the supernatural, 'Speak if you can, what are you?' Act I Scene III. This is shown as he depends on the witches to guide him with what to do and good becomes entwined with evil, ' Fair is foul, and foul is fair', Act I Scene I. ...read more.

Middle

The banquet has been arranged so that the new King and Queen can be properly introduced to their courtiers and is going as planned until the Murderers arrive to tell Macbeth that although they have killed Banquo, Fleance has escaped. Although Macbeth is uneasy about this news, 'Hath nature that in time will venom breed' Act III SceneIV and is linked to his doubts about one of Banquo's predictions from the Witches, 'Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none', he dismisses the murderers and prepares to enjoy the banquet in a ceremonious way. However, his ease is to be short-lived for as he is about to sit down he sees Banquo's ghost in his place at table. He cannot believe this and questions his Lords, 'Which of you has done this?' but they are unable to see the ghost and rise to leave, thinking he is 'unwell'. Guilt, denial and fear swamp Macbeth, 'Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me', and he thinks someone knows he killed Duncan and is setting him up. It seems guilt is the strongest theme in this scene, it is the reason for the ghost of Banquo being present in Macbeth's mind only, and his guilty conscience is seeping through with this sign of madness. ...read more.

Conclusion

This drives her to her madness like the ghost of Banquo starts to do to Macbeth. This is a famous speech that talks about wading in blood and has the word 'blood' repeated five times, ' blood will have blood'. Macbeth feels he is in this so deep there is no going back, 'Returning were as tedious as go'er', the turning point has now been reached and the last line indicates there is more killing to come, 'We are yet but young in deed.' This proves the importance of the Banquet Scene. We have reached the end of one chapter and the beginning of another and it is also a turning point in the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. At the beginning of the banquet they were as close as they were at the beginning of the play, despite the 'cloud' of Duncan's death. But by the end of the banquet we find Macbeth unable to confide in his wife for advice and going to the witches in place of her, 'I will to-morrow (And betimes I will) to the Weird Sisters.' And we now know that Lord and Lady Macbeth do not know darkness from light or evil from good. There must only be darkness and death ahead for them both. Fair has become foul and foul has become fair. Sara Hayward 10B ...read more.

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