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Show How Shakespeare Makes Us Feel Horror, Pity and Fear by Examining Three of the Deaths in the Play

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Show How Shakespeare Makes Us Feel Horror, Pity and Fear by Examining Three of the Deaths in the Play I will show how Shakespeare makes us feel horror pity and fear by examining three of the deaths in the play. These are the three main components to any tragedy, dating back to the ancient Greek tragedies. I will look at the murder of King Duncan and that of Banquo as well as the killing of young Macduff and his mother. The play was Macbeth was probably first performed in front of King James at Hampton Court Palace in 1606; six centuries after the birth of the real Macbeth on whose life the play is loosely based. Most of the other characters also existed but Shakespeare has moulded them to suit his purposes. There is a great build-up to Duncan's death. This creates an atmosphere tension, suspense and fear. You fear for the King, and the consequences of what Macbeth is about to do. For this reason you not only feel sorrow and pity for Duncan but also for Macbeth, who started off a good man, noble and just, with a courageous heart. ...read more.


I would not expect my friend to turn and switch on me like that. We feel pity for the ignorant Banquo and horror at Macbeth's actions. Macbeth's paranoia over took him. He planned Banquo's murder as he talked to him, methodically enquiring to his movements that evening. After wishing his friend a final "Farewell" he proceeds, to the horror of the audience to instruct the murders to execute Banquo's son Fleance as well. Macbeth's "Fears in Banquo stick deep". He had been told by the three witches that Banquo's descendants would become king, and although the first three prophesies had come true, he believed he could prevent this one. He was unwilling to trust fate. We feel a little pity for him because like all of us he fears what is beyond his control and worries tremendously about it. Though fate had been fair to him in his inheritance of his second thaneship he wanted to make sure for himself his future. He feels insecure and this makes us feel a little sorry for him. The tension again rises and we fear for little Fleance, innocent, guilty of nothing but living. We also have the added mystery of the third murderer who arrives to aid the assassination. ...read more.


The last murder I will investigate is that of Lady Macduff and her son. This horrific act of murdering an innocent mother and child is even more horrendous because this gruesome act serves no purpose. Macbeth wanted revenge on Macduff who he saw as a traitor, though Macduff actually had the good of his country at heart, it was the tyrannical Macbeth whom he betrayed, not his country. Macbeth extended his anger to his family "give to th' edge o' th' Sword His Wife, his Babes". Macduff later avenges his loss, ending Macbeth's hubris by killing him in the play's catharsis. In this callous killing Macbeth reaches the apex of his cruelty. "Cruel are the Times" comments Rosse. Fear is created by the unexpected entry of the anonymous messenger who warns Lady Macduff "Be not found here" after she has just pointed out she has been left unprotected. We pity her ignorance "Whether should I fly?" and her helpless child. We are not shown the murder of Lady Macduff but we are shown the appalling murder of her son who pitifully attempts to stand up for his mother. We are left once again to imagine another grisly slaying with our own macabre mental pictures fuelled by her parting screams of "Murthr!" ...read more.

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