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The staging of 'Macbeth' Act 3 scene 4 (the banquet scene).

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Introduction

MACBETH ENGLISH COURSEWORK The staging of 'Macbeth' Act 3 scene 4 (the banquet scene) Macbeth, having become king, after killing Duncan, has now become obsessed with getting rid of anything that threatens his new position, by murdering them. He is in the banquet hall when the murderer, who he hired to kill Fleance and Banquo, comes and tells him that Fleance has escaped. Throughout this scene he is haunted and tormented by Banquo's ghost, which only he can see and very nearly reveals all to the lords. For me this scene shows that all the lies and treachery that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, have had to use to cover up the murders, are clearly putting a strain on their own personal relationship and it is evidently effecting their minds and their way of thinking. More importantly this is the first time that Macbeth appears to 'lose it' so obviously in front of so many people and he almost gives everything away but Lady Macbeth is there to cover up for him by having to say things like ' My lord is often thus, and hath been since his youth' (Act 3, scene 4, line 53) In this line she is referring to Macbeth's unnatural behaviour and reaction from seeing Banquo's Ghost. This scene very strongly shows how Lady Macbeth is the more sane and prevailing one and often has to come to Macbeth's rescue to keep his status as king and more importantly to cover up the deadly lies of death. Macbeth, in this scene comes across to me as more anxious and weak then he appeared to be at the beginning of the play, when he was courageous and bold. It seems as if he is mentally and physically affected by the heavy burden of all the murders that he has to carry with him every day, and that this is starting to show to others. ...read more.

Middle

speaks to him he will lift up his mask onto his head, as if he is revealing his true self, but only to the murderer. *Dancer = an actor who has no particular character, but represents other main characters emotions or things they describe in the text. They have no setlines and mainly use their bodies to give the audience and clear understanding of what is said. Macbeth will deliver 'Then comes my fit again' very slowly and powerfully. His face will be full of fear and his body very rigid, as if he is scared stiff of what these 'dancers'* (fit) will do to him. When the murderer tells Macbeth that Fleance is escaped his fear and suspicions shall grow even stronger and they shall go beyond the banquet hall, into the outside world. Three more actors/dancers, one dressed in black to show death, one dressed in deep red to show blood and one dressed in green to show anxiety/jealousy, will slowly creep on stage and surround Macbeth on the floor and this will represent his feelings and guilt that are literally hanging At this point the bright lights will dim to give a more apprehensive atmosphere. As he continues with the small speech the dancers* will slowly move around him until he says 'cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in, to saucy doubts and fears' which is when they will violently pull him down to the ground and use their arms to trap him like he describes. They will also echo these words, tormenting him. Macbeth will then throw them aside when he asks about Banquo and as the murderer replies and describes what he did to him the dancers* will form a small freeze-frame of Banquo's murder which Macbeth will look onto with an almost satisfied terror. After Macbeth sends the dancers* and the murderer away (the dancers will stay next to the stage) ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth will then come round to table to Macbeth, angrily pull him up and speak viciously to him, staring piercingly into his eyes. As he speaks back to her he will grab he almost aggressively and hold her face while talking to her. When Lady Macbeth sends the lords away she is at breaking point, and to show this she will scream and choke her lines at them, losing all formality. She will screw up her face and wave her hands around, tearing at her hair and clothes, to show the anguish and distress that she is feeling. As the lords hesitantly leave, she will go to usher them out but is unwilling to leave Macbeth, in case he reveals any more, so she will violently throw her mask at them, which was her last bit of security. (109-144) After the lords have left, all lights will go down apart from a broad red spotlight illuminating Macbeth, on his knees and Lady Macbeth, holding him close to her. As he starts with the line "It will have blood they say" (line 123) he will slowly begin to stand up, turning towards and speaking out to the audience. The dancers and Lady Macbeth will watch him intently as he speaks with bitterness and hostility, with a look of disgust on his face. I want the audience to be able to notice the change from fear to malevolence that Macbeth has suddenly gone through. He will no longer be scared of the dancers, which represented his fear, and this will come across by him heartily inviting the dancers to come sit down at the banquet table with him. As he continues talking about how he will kill any one that stands in his way, the dancers will encourage him by muttering agreements, listening intently, and leaning in enthusiastically, spurring him on, no longer frightening him and giving him regrets but doing the opposite and giving him confidence. The scene will end with a freeze frame of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth holding each other and all the dancers closely leaning in maliciously around them. ...read more.

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