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Paying particular attention to Shakespeare's use of dramatic devices, compare the murder scenes of Duncan, Banquo and the Macduff family.

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Introduction

Paying particular attention to Shakespeare's use of dramatic devices, compare the murder scenes of Duncan, Banquo and the Macduff family. 'Macbeth' is a classical tragedy, which follows the rise and fall of a once great man. Shakespeare's tragedy is about Macbeth's bloody rise to power, including the murder of the king, Duncan, and the guilt-ridden chain of evil deeds leading to more evil deeds. Macbeth commits three murders in this play. The murder of Duncan is a very terrible murder as it is regicide, and the audience watching would feel great shock towards Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. During the Jacobean times people believed in the Divine Right of Kings. This meant that God put the king on the throne. The murder does not take place on the stage. To show it on stage in Shakespearian times would have been very difficult and therefore it is left to the audience's imagination. Instead, we sense the murder happening because it is placed between many intense happenings. In act two scene one we see Macbeth's vision of a dagger leading him to Duncan. 'Is this a dagger which I see before me, /The handle toward my hand?'. Macbeth thinks his eyes are playing tricks due to his worry and has doubts about killing the king. ...read more.

Middle

'Have you considered of my speeches?' This quote tells us that Macbeth has already spoken to the murderers beforehand. This is his first scene as king and the audience do not get a good first impression. There is a similarity in that there is a reason for this murder like Duncan's. Macbeth kills Duncan so that he can become king. He orders for Banquo to be killed because he thinks that his throne is 'Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand.' This quote shows that Macbeth fears Fleance, Banquo's son, will steal the throne because Macbeth has no heirs. However this could be Macbeth's insecurity because Malcolm and Donalbain want to get revenge for their father's murder. Another similarity to Duncan's murder is that Banquo's murder takes place in the night- time. It seems that the loss of light foreshadows the loss of life. We know that Duncan's murder went to plan but Banquo's murder is not as successful because Fleance escapes. 'Fly good Fleance! Thou mayst revenge.' Nobody feels guilt or fear of being found out after Banquo's murder whereas Duncan's murder causes Macbeth a great deal of guilt and regret. With Duncan, he is killed in his sleep and probably feels no pain, whereas with Banquo there is a struggle. ...read more.

Conclusion

As you can imagine, this creates a great deal of tension and panic for both the characters and the audience. It also shows Lady Macduff's innocence when she doesn't know whether to flee. This makes the murder very sad and unfortunate. A difference between this murder and the other two is how the people are made aware of the murders. Macduff finds the body of Duncan and announces that he is dead. ' Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope/ The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence/ The life o' the building!' This metaphor of the king's body being a temple shows how upsetting Duncan's murder is. It is like killing God. Macduff tries to tell the people in the most sympathetic way possible. On the other hand, there is Ross who tells Macduff very bluntly that his wife and children are 'savagely slaughtered.' This is one of the most moving scenes in the play. Macduff, like Fleance, Malcolm and Donalbain proceeds with the intention of getting revenge. 'Let grief/ Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.' He has even more determination to find Macbeth because it has become personal now, with the murder of his family. These three murders in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' have similarities and differences but they all show how far one man went for the sake of his ambition. They showed how Macbeth went from 'Bellona's bridegroom to ' this dead butcher.' ...read more.

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