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In this essay Macbeth "Act 2, Scene 2" will be assessed and discussed and the variety of the techniques that Shakespeare has used to create tension will be highlighted.

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In this essay "Act 2, Scene 2" will be assessed and discussed and the variety of the techniques that Shakespeare has used to create tension will be highlighted. Macbeth, one of the most famous English tragedies was written by Shakespeare some time between 1603 and 1606. At that time King James I was the king of both England and Scotland and the play was first performed in front of the king. "Macbeth" is set in medieval Scotland and the actual story was taken from a book called "Holinshed's Chronicles". The story was about King James's ancestor, from whom he had inherited the throne of Scotland. There was a general concept with regard to kingship and loyalty, which was a belief in the appointment of the king by God! The worst crime possible was regicide or an attempt to assassinate the king. The people and the king also believed in the existence of Devil. They believed that the devil's aim was to use his power to deceive people and lead them to hell. Witches were known as the devil's servants and as the source of disasters and misfortunes. In such a period Shakespeare wrote his tragedy "Macbeth". In this scene we see Lady Macbeth return from Duncan's chamber, where she makes the necessary preparations for the murder. She is pacing around the castle's ramparts in a nervous but excited state, waiting for Macbeth to come back from his night business (murder). ...read more.


Macbeth knows he will never be cleaned of this vile deed. He says, "Will all great Neptune's Ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" then he answers himself and says the blood will change the greenish colour of the seawater to red. Another of the ways in which Shakespeare builds up tension is the way that characters behave in this scene. Lady Macbeth is pacing about in the ramparts nervously. She is afraid that their plan might fail of the plan and through this scene both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are terrified that they will be caught. Through out this scene Lady Macbeth is always afraid of two things; she is afraid of getting caught as they go about their "business". Also in this scene she is anxious about the possibility that she will not be able to realise her ambition because she doesn't trust her husband to go through with the murder that is why she thought of killing Duncan herself. As Macbeth and his wife join together after the murder, at first they do not speak in sentences. They use utterances which are highly charged with fear and excitement. This creates dramatic tension. In this scene Macbeth is falling apart and terrified but his wife seems to be calm and in control. This is because Macbeth committed the murder and Lady Macbeth had only prepared the way for her husband. The way that Macbeth describes the murder and the way that he reacts when he sees his guilty hands, reminds him and the audience of the brutal murder which has horrified and shocked the audience. ...read more.


Afterward Macbeth imagines a voice crying in his mind: "Macbeth does murther sleep, the innocent sleep" These two images show how cruel the deed is. He could not to respond to his daily prayer, the thing that he used to do everyday, also he will not be able to sleep anymore. Another image that can be examined is when Macbeth is alone in the ramparts waiting for his wife to return from the chamber. He looks at his guilty hands and imagines that they are coming to life. Macbeth imagines they are trying to pull out his eyes; "What hands are here? Hah: they pluck out mine eyes." By this imagery, Shakespeare tries to imply the terrible fact of the murder and the sin that is not going to be cleaned from them, sooner or later it is going to kill them. Shakespeare has created tension in this scene in a variety of ways. One of the ways is the way that he describes the fact of the murder and how they are covered in blood and terror. Tension is also built up by the way that the characters behave in this scene; their use of short sentences and the contrast between the ways they react after the murder. Another way in which Shakespeare builds up tension is the use of effective sound effects through out this scene; door knocking and owl shrieks. Dramatic tension is also increased by the imaginations of both Macbeth and his wife. Throughout this scene Shakespeare has wisely chosen different techniques at the time and it still works today. ...read more.

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