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Macbeth:Critical Evaluation of Literature by Paula O'Brien

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Macbeth: Critical Evaluation of Literature by Paula O'Brien "Macbeth" was written by William Shakespeare in 1606. "Macbeth" is one of the most well known plays by Shakespeare. It is also considered to be one of his best plays, even although it is one of his shortest. In this essay I have been asked to discuss how Shakespeare's use of dramatic technique heightens tension and increases audience sympathy for one or more characters. The main scene I have picked to discuss is Act five Scene one. At the beginning of this scene it opens with a Doctor and Gentlewoman studying Lady Macbeth's behaviour as she has been sleepwalking due to recent events. At the start of the play Macbeth was told he would become king. After he heard this he was intrigued to find out how he was going to become king. Should he kill the king? Or should he let fate decide? When he told Lady Macbeth about his prophecy she was adamant about him becoming king, she was so determined for him to become king she was willing to kill King Duncan herself. Lady Macbeth says, "Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here." Here she is calling for evil spirits to turn her into a man so she will have enough strength to kill King Duncan for Macbeth. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth says "Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, stop up th' access and passage to remorse..." Lady Macbeth says "The Thane of Fife had a wife where is she now?" In the first quote from Act one Scene five she is very in control of the situation as she is asking for more strength and help from dark spirits. In the second quote in Act five Scene one she rhymes in a childish technique. This shows her mentality has decreased rapidly after the murder of King Duncan as there is only a few Acts between the quoted scenes. The audience, seeing her in this transformed state, are shocked because she was so in control before the murder but now she is surprisingly unstable. The Doctor also thinks she is unstable as he orders the gentlewoman to take away anything that she could harm herself with. Doctor says "Remove from her means of all annoyance..." I think the audience could also feel quite sympathetic towards Lady Macbeth because she only wanted to murder Duncan so Macbeth could become King. Lady Macbeth says " 'Hail King that shalt be!' " When Lady Macbeth is speaking in her sleep she talks about the murder of King Duncan, Banquo and the Macduff family being murdered. ...read more.


He increases the tension more when Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill the king, when he is still deciding if he should or not. After the murder, the audience was not sympathetic towards Lady Macbeth because she was still trying to persuade Macbeth that is was alright to kill the King, while Macbeth was sorry for what he had done straight after the murder. Shakespeare also amplifies the tension when we see the opening of Act five Scene one, this is when we hear what Lady Macbeth has been doing in her sleep, but we have still to see this. This adds tension as we want to know if the Gentlewoman's theories are correct. When we find out that what she is saying true then the audience is concerned for Lady Macbeth, this is odd as we know she is evil but we still feel sorry for her and want her to get better. When Lady Macbeth does die we don't hear much about it so the audience's sympathy was not increased. I thought that "Macbeth" is a very interesting play, as the story had many different contrasts. I also thought that Shakespeare was very in control of the play's tension and he knew when and how to increase or decrease the audience's sympathy and concern for the characters, especially Lady Macbeth's character. ...read more.

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