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The Impact and Explanation of Act II Scene 2 in Macbeth

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The Impact and Explanation of Act II Scene 2 in "Macbeth" Shakespeare writes Macbeth for a Jacobean audience in Jacobean times under the rule of James I. The play Macbeth is a tragedy about the consequences of regicide (the killing of a king) and how it affects the country (in this case Scotland) and those whom committed the murder. So, for this reason, the play deals with the murder itself. We see the murder's consequences immediately after, but, the murder itself happens offstage. Hence, the way that the characters react towards "the deed" is of up-most importance to the way that the play enfolds hereafter. Act II scene 2 involves Macbeth (the murderer) and Lady Macbeth (his wife and co-conspirator) ...read more.


Shakespeare uses subtle influences of the time. He writes about the afterlife, which would have been a common worry of the time as churches were continually preaching of judgement in purgatory. For example, "But they did say their prayers". The atmosphere of Act II scene 2 has colossal impact on the delivery towards the Jacobeans. The murder takes place at night in Macbeth's castle. "Which gives stern'st good night". Lady Macbeth informs us that the scene is set for the deed to take place. The relevance that the "deed" takes place in the nocturnal hours coincides with the views of the Jacobeans who would have believed that something so bad as regicide had to have taken place at the ungodly hours of the night. ...read more.


The idea of regicide towards the Jacobeans would have been horrific: to kill a man who is appointed by god is the same as directly disobeying god himself. This would most certainly have earned someone a one-way ticket to hell after death. As the thought of eternal punishment in hell is horrific to anyone, the act of regicide has suddenly turned into a much more afflicting crime upon the soul. Thus the conscious of Macbeth makes the scene's depth increase with the issue of punishment. The scene is post-murder. "I have done the deed." Because what the audience can imagine would be so much worse than that which Shakespeare could have staged, the murder happens off stage. For this reason and also because the play is about the consequences of murder and not the murder itself and so as not to distract the audience, the murder is offstage. ...read more.

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