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In what ways does Shakespeare make Duncan's death dramatic?

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Introduction

In what ways does Shakespeare make Duncan's death dramatic? "Macbeth" is a tragedy filled with deceit, evil and ambition. However what makes this play so great is the way in which Shakespeare unfolds the drama to us. In the play "Macbeth", Shakespeare makes the death of Duncan dramatic in many ways. A way in which Shakespeare makes Duncan's death appear so dramatic is by the fact that his "loyal and trusted servant" is the one to kill him. This sense of irony heightens the drama as from the description of Macbeth, he would be the last person to expect this from. Macbeth is the hero of the play as well as being the villain and it is this dual role that makes the play seem so dramatic. Shakespeare adds a twist into the play by making Macbeth appear to be something which he is not. He is first presented to us as a loyal servant to the king and to Scotland. This is reflected by Duncan's appreciative comments such as "more is thy due than more than all can pay" and the superlative "o worthiest cousin." We are told that due to his heroic acts in the battlefield, he is going to replace the Thane of Cawdor, who has been deceitful, and betrayed Duncan. ...read more.

Middle

This poetic language makes us realise that Macbeth is sensitive and adds a sense of drama as it makes us more aware that what he is doing is greatly wrong. The heavy sounding d of "deep damnation" sticks in the audiences ears as Macbeth is sensitive as indicated by the poetic language. "Hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels, trumpet-tongu'd, against the deep damnation of his taking-off" (Act 1, Scene 7, line 18-20) The imagery of angels telling heaven and voices like trumpets to cry out against the deed, which is not what he wants, and so he eventually decides not to do it. This makes Duncan's death dramatic because it is such a huge decision to make and there is a 'twist and turn' in him making his decision, and the fact that Duncan is linked with religious imagery in the form of angels. Shows the impact of the death high lighting that "every eye" shall be affected reinforcing what a loved man Duncan is Act Two opens dramatically with darkness surrounding the stage and the audience in suspense as to whether or not Macbeth will commit "the horrid deed." However, by the end of the scene, Macbeth decides to kill Duncan, after being persuaded by his wife. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the fact that Macbeth feels that not even an entire ocean can wash his hands of the deed, suggests a state of total damnation. He says, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash all this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incardine, making the green one red" (Act 2, Scene 2, lines 63-64) Macbeth feels that not even an entire ocean can remove the guilt and wash the blood from his hands, and instead the countless masses of water will turn blood red, because there is so much of it, and the green sea a red sea. Macbeth's guilt is expressed through the image of blood, and he believes no matter what he does or where he goes, the guilt will always be there with him. Macbeth finally admits how great the crime he has committed is, when he says, "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst" (Act 2, Scene 2, line 77) Macbeth wishes he could turn back time. He wishes that the moment when he plunged the dagger into Duncan's flesh never happened, and that he could make it disappear. He says that if it were possible to bring Duncan back to life he would. This seals Macbeth's misery, and makes the death seem even more dramatic because the murderer himself is miserable and regrets killing Duncan. ...read more.

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