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In what ways does Shakespeare succeed in creating tension in Act 2 scene 2? (Macbeth).

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Introduction

Charles Watson 4H In what ways does Shakespeare succeed in creating tension in Act 2 scene 2? Macbeth was written in1605; this was a period where there was a great interest in witchcraft and the supernatural. Many people including James I were scared and confused by ideas of the supernatural. The opening scene would in itself create tension amongst the audience, as it would suggest a play full of evil and lies, and also a theme of opposites and contrasts which occurs in the play, 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair', 'so fair and foul a day'. This also links in with the appearance and reality of Macbeth. At the end of Act 2 Scene 1, and just following on from his soliloquy, Macbeth has been preparing himself to murder Duncan. There was a strong belief of the Divine Right of Kings, which was extremely more important than now. The position of a king was like that of God and any attempt to usurp his position was regarded as an offence against God and the divine order of thing. This would also have a massive impact; the audience will be left wondering if he will actually commit the murder and if he will be found out. ...read more.

Middle

These noises also link in with something that Macbeth said in his soliloquy, he said, "Now o'er the one half-world, Nature seems dead" I think that here Macbeth is saying that whilst one side of the world are active, the other side are asleep, therefore nature is dead. However, this is ironic because throughout the night there is obvious signs of nature, i.e. the owl and the cricket. The sequence of knocking results in a build up of tension; their nerves are frayed having just committed the murder and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are beginning to argue. This in itself would cause the audience to think that things may not go according to their plan. Lady Macbeth is easily startled by the owl, which suggests to the audience that she is very much on 'the edge', very anxious and tense about the murder. This is very different from the woman, who earlier says that she could kill a new born baby, "Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash'd his brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this". ...read more.

Conclusion

Her lack of faith is demonstrated earlier on in the play when the doctor finds her sleepwalking,' More needs she the divine than the physician' this shows that her problem is not physical, more mental. Shakespeare also uses the idea of contrasts towards the end of the play when Macbeth says, "I have almost forgot the taste of fears The time has been my senses would have coded To hear a night-shriek" This links in with themes of contrasts as it shows that Macbeth is completely fearless, this contrasts with Act 2 scene 2, where Macbeth is panicking and terrified of what he had just done. Shakespeare's use of language and structure manages to create tension right up to the murder of Duncan and in places after that. It is gradually built up until the death; he uses a lot of dramatic irony, in a previous scene, the audience already know that Macbeth has been made 'thane of Cawdor' before Macbeth even knows himself. This is creating dramatic irony, which also creates tension later on in the play. To conclude, I would say that Shakespeare uses many different ways in order to create tension on this scene. I personally think that this scene is dramatic because he uses language and themes that link together in order to create tension and combined with a story line of regicide. 3 1 ...read more.

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