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Macbeth - an exploration of the dramatic nature of Act 2.

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GCSE English coursework Macbeth - an exploration of the dramatic nature of Act2 The atmosphere in the whole of the act in one of dismay, with a general feeling of tension and evil, due to the intentions, and then actions, of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare uses atmosphere to create an effect, and to add to the tension and drama of the situation. The atmosphere at the end of Act 1 is a great contrast to the atmosphere to that found in Act 2. At the end of Act 1 there is great tension, where Macbeth is mocked by Lady Macbeth, for refusing to kill Duncan, but then this is followed by Macbeth's resolution to commit the evil deed. When considering the social and historic setting of the play, you could identify that the way in which Lady Macbeth argues with Macbeth does not fit into the roles recognized in society for men and women. At that time it would have been unheard of for a woman to argue and win against her husband, especially if he were of a high position, as Macbeth is. In 'Macbeth', Lady Macbeth is the main female character and although she is a woman, she has a very powerful influence over Macbeth. Lady Macbeth acts in very manly ways and we rarely ever see a human, womanly side to her character. ...read more.


He is first alarmed but later seems to enjoy the horror. Shakespeare increases the tension in this scene by using language that is full of references to blood and darkness, "And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood which was not so before" This creates images of the horror to come. The scene ends with Lady Macbeth ringing the bell signifying that Duncan is now asleep. The bell is described as a knell which ironically is a funeral bell rung to announce a death In act 2, scene 2, the murder of Duncan takes place. The audience should be on the edge of their seats by now, wondering if Macbeth will actually have the nerve to murder his king. Lady Macbeth drugs the guards and takes their daggers. She then lays them ready for Macbeth. She would have murdered Duncan herself if he had not resembled her father. Macbeth returns having murdered Duncan. Shakespeare gives us this image to add to the horror of what had taken place. The idea of killing someone resembling your father is a disturbing image causing unrest among the audience or the reader. The details of the murder itself are cleverly left out by Shakespeare, leaving the reader on edge, curious as to how the murder was taking place, but we are only left with our own portrayal and mental images of how we think it was carried out, which is often full or gore and blood. ...read more.


Duncan had asked them to come early and wake him up. Macbeth enters, wondering who had been knocking at the door. After Macbeth greets Macduff, he heads toward the King's chambers. Meanwhile, Lennox is talking about the unnatural disturbances during the night. He talks of 'strange screams of death' and ironically Macbeth replies 'Twas a rough night'. There is a lot of tension in this particular part of the scene. Not only is there tension in the scene but also for the reader because we know exactly what Macbeth has done, and what awaits Macduff when he enters Duncans room. There is a long pause before Macduff discovers Duncan, thus adding to the tention. Macduff screams with horror when he comes across the body of Duncan. Macbeth continues successfully to disguise all knowledge of the murder. This whole scene is conducted off stage in the play and there is no text describing the event in the book. The bell is rung again, this time the death has occurred, unlike when the bell was rung prior to Duncans murder signalling for Macbeth to commence to perform 'the deed' Macbeth leaves the scene with Lennox and off stage kills the two servants who he had previously set up, placing the daggers next to them as they slept and in doing so covering their hands in the blood of Duncan. Scene 3 ends unusually with Malcom and Donaldbain, Duncan's sons, planning to retreat to England and Ireland to rid themselves of any accusations ...read more.

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