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Show how Shakespeare uses language to create an atmosphere of horror and the supernatural in Macbeth, focusing on the two set scenes

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Introduction

Show how Shakespeare uses language to create an atmosphere of horror and the supernatural in "Macbeth", focusing on the two set scenes Macbeth is a classic play written in 1603 by William Shakespeare. It tells the story of a young thane (Scottish Lord) who meets 3 witches with his friend. They tell him that he will become King of Scotland and that his friend's sons will also become kings. Macbeth tells his wife about the strange prophecy and she makes a plan to kill the King and take his crown. When Macbeth returns from battle, his Wife convinces him to murder his king and frame the guards. The dead King's sons flee Scotland, afraid that they too will be murdered. Macbeth is then made King. Remembering the witches' prophecy Macbeth hires people to murder his friend so that his friend won't work out what has happened. His friend's ghost comes to haunt Macbeth for his crimes and drives him insane. Macbeth goes back to see the 3 Witches who tell him, firstly that he needs to beware Macduff (another thane), secondly that Macbeth cannot be killed by anyone who was "born of woman" (e.g. anyone who was naturally born) and, thirdly that he cannot be killed until Birnam Wood Comes to Dunsinane (Birnam Wood was a nearby Forest and Dunsinane was the name of Macbeth's castle). Macduff did not cooperate with Macbeth and he goes to see the dead King's sons in England. Macbeth orders the murder of Macduff's family to revenge the treachery of Macduff, taking the side of the King's sons. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth calls in a servant and receives news that Macduff has gone to England. Macbeth makes a plan to take Macduff's castle and kill his family. In Act3, Scene4 there are many examples of language that create an atmosphere of horror or the supernatural. A good example of horrific language is when Macbeth says to one of the killers "There's blood upon thy face". He replies "'Tis Banquo's then" To which Macbeth says "'Tis better thee without than he within." This means that there is Banquo's blood on the murderer's face so Macbeth claims that blood is preferable being on the outside of the murderer than inside the body of Banquo. This is a good example of horrific language because it shows that Macbeth is blood thirsty and that he doesn't even care that his best friend's blood is on the face of his murderer. Another good example of horrific language is when Macbeth asks the murderer whether he had killed Banquo's son. He says "Thou art the best o' th' cut-throats, yet he's good that did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil". This shows that Macbeth really has no care for anyone anymore because he is complimenting the murder if he killed Banquos' son. He names the murderer 'the best of the cut-throats' which means that Macbeth believes he is the best murderer which is quite a gruesome title. Later in the scene Macbeth is hosting a banquet when Banquos' ghost sits down in Macbeth's seat. ...read more.

Conclusion

He asks about whether Banquo's descendants will still become kings (Macbeth is wondering whether killing Banquo changed the fate of his descendants). He threatens them to show him what will happen "Deny me this, And an eternal curse fall on you." Threatening the witches is a very risky idea and shows Macbeths desperation at wanting to know what will happen. According to historical facts this scene was not originally in the play, but it was added later. I think that it was added because it adds more of a supernatural feel to the whole play and helps to show to the audience that Macbeth would still be a thane and not turn insane, if the witches hadn't told him the prophecy. Shakespeare is very good at creating an atmosphere of the supernatural in this play. He uses language that shocks the reader and makes them realise facts about the characters. The atmosphere that he creates of supernatural is very intense and would have helped heighten distrust and hate of witches back when it was first played. Possibly the best example of horrific language is when Banquo's murderer says "Safe in a ditch he bides, with twenty trenched gashes on his head". This means that the body of Banquo is lying in a ditch with twenty deep-cut gashes on his head. This is very horrific language as only one gash on Banquo's head would have killed him, whereas 20 is just like rubbing salt in the wounds. Macbeth is a rather horrific play but it uses it for a reason. The language he uses helps to show the reader the truths about the characters and helps the story develop. ...read more.

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