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Respond to Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth in the following ways:

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Introduction

Respond to Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth in the following ways: * Explore the ways in which Shakespeare creates tension in this scene. * Compare the ways in which a modern audience would respond to this scene with how you think Shakespeare's contemporary audience would have responded. * Discuss how you would direct the scene to bring out its dramatic qualities. Shakespeare's Macbeth was written in 1605 and first performed in 1606, in front of King James I (James IV of Scotland) at Hampton Court, London, three years after he ascended to the throne following the death of Elizabeth I. Like Elizabeth, James was deeply interested in witchcraft and published a book in 1597 called Demonology which may have influenced Shakespeare. Shakespeare often found inspiration in historical sources for his plays. Shakespeare had used Raphael Holinshed's account of Scottish history in his Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland published in 1557. However, in turn Holinshed based his account on earlier sources. The plot of Macbeth was firstly mentioned in Scotichronicon by John of Fordun in the fourteenth century. In Shakespeare's Macbeth Duncan is portrayed as a noble and honest man and Macbeth as a tyrant. This is where Shakespeare has changed the original source because in reality Macbeth was a good king who brought peace to the country and Duncan was weak. ...read more.

Middle

I think an audience in the 1600s would take this a lot more seriously than an audience of today because I think people then were a lot more religiously involved than people today. Macbeth claims "I could not say 'Amen,'" and this is probably because he feels he has wronged his god and closed down communication with him because of that. I think this is one way Shakespeare conveyed his views and thoughts about the consequences of killing a king, he also created tension within his contemporary audience by showing the consequences Macbeth suffers since he committed his crime. Lady Macbeth nevertheless acts dismissively and replies "consider it not so deeply," this is an example of her trying to forget about the act Macbeth has executed. Despite the fact that in the beginning of their conversation, in the beginning of the scene Lady Macbeth is trying to act uninterested, with Macbeth opening his inner most feelings up to her, she appears to break down and begins to speak more. I think she is just as scared as Macbeth is and so tries to hide that with being maybe a little inconsiderate. Lady Macbeth also tries to hide it by drinking at the beginning of the scene. She is trying to hang on. She tries to strengthen her husband but Macbeth states he will go no more. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is confused and very nearly going out of her mind. On line 30, Lady Macbeth claims "These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so it will make us mad". This foreshadows the fact Lady Macbeth becomes mad. When Lady Macbeth sees the blood of her king though, she suddenly feels the guilt a lot more and when she has the blood on her own hand she begins to realize the reality of it, but doesn't want to display these feeling at all. The text suggests this when she says to Macbeth, "My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white." Again, this is showing Lady Macbeth thinks her husband is weak. I would have the actress playing Lady Macbeth acting very scared and hopeless, but because Lady Macbeth does not want to show as much emotion and weakness as Macbeth does when he breaks down, I would have her quickly get over it, showing this with the tone of her voice. I would also have her taking brisk and big paces across the stage and make it obvious that her and her husband grow apart at this event. I think Shakespeare uses very good dramatic tension techniques as most of them succeed in creating suspense and tension in every audience up to the current day, and I believe that is one of the main factors which add up to make him the successful and almost legendary playwright he is today. Jessica Pike 11EK 27th October 2004 Mrs Moores Coursework ...read more.

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