• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What dramatic effect does Shakespeare aim for in Act II Sc 2 and how does he achieve it?

Extracts from this document...


What dramatic effect does Shakespeare aim for in Act II Sc 2 and how does he achieve it? Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' was written some time between 1603 and 1606 and was his eighth tragedy in as many years, and has proved to be one of his most renowned plays of all time. It is a tragic tale of betrayal, malevolence and mystery, where a heroic soldier by the name of Macbeth becomes enwrapped in witchcraft and begins to believe the words of Hecate (the witches' god). He starts a spate of murders initially with Duncan the King of Scotland and then becomes lonely and looses everything. The scene I am going to concentrate on is Act II Sc 2; the aftermath of the murder and the climax of the play. I will look and analyse the dramatic effect that Shakespeare aims for in this scene, and how he achieves it. 'Macbeth' was written in the seventeenth century; just as James I became King, after the death of Queen Elizabeth. James was very interested in witchcraft and Scotland and hence the themes of the play, also some of James' ancestors feature in the play, such as Banquo. First Witch "When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" This quote opens the play and is crucial to the setting of the play. ...read more.


Shakespeare introduces an unusual character at this point, the porter, whose humour and strangeness takes the edge off the tense atmosphere of the scene before it. Shakespeare using a variety of dramatic devices throughout 'Macbeth' to absolute the play. One of his most popular devices is the soliloquy; this is used to show the audience a character's feelings and emotions through a personal speech, and can sometimes show madness - This is taken from Macbeth's soliloquy at the end of Act II Sc 1; Macbeth "I go and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell" This is showing Macbeth in an almost manic mood; as he professes to himself that he will murder the King, however only the audience have heard this and so adds tension, as the audience sits helpless, forced to watch. Shakespeare uses soliloquy to change the viewpoint of a scene. Viewpoint changes a lot during the play, as seen in Act II; at the end of Sc 1 all attention is focused on Macbeth, and his willingness to kill. However when Sc 2 begins the viewpoint changes to Lady Macbeth as it opens with her calm and controlled but then quickly turns and becomes jumpy and worried, completely out of character, this captures the audience's attention; Lady Macbeth "What hath quench'd them, hath give me fire. ...read more.


However later on as we see, she becomes obsessed with the hand washing, and eventually kills herself because of her guilt. Lady Macbeth "Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One, two. Why then 'tis time do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard?" All of Shakespeare's plays were written as poetry not prose, and throughout them he used a system called iambic pentameter, or blank verse. Iambic meaning five, which indicates that sentences were usually spoken in five beats, with the predominant beat falling on the second syllable. However when characters spoke in iambic, they were usually high-ranked on the hierarchy. For example when Macbeth speaks to the murderers in Act III Sc 1, he does so in prose, "Ay, in catalogue ye go for men, As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept All by the name of dogs" Also when people were nervous they would in effect 'share' their lines - meaning that the iambic pentameter was shared between two characters, as shown here in Act II Sc 2, Lady Macbeth "Did you not speak? Macbeth When Lady Macbeth Now Macbeth As I descended?" Not only does this create tension, it also moves the plot along very quickly. Notice how descended is used and not "come down" so that it fits the iambic rule. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    To Lady Macbeth, his turmoil is ridiculous, and she is unable to understand how he is displaying such emotion. The audience will begin to receive a clear picture of her heartlessness and potentially evil mind. Her conscience is clearly not troubling her in the way that Macbeth's is.

  2. Macbeth: How does Shakespeare dramatise the murder of Duncan in Act II Scenes (i) ...

    Banquo refers to the theme of sleeplessness, saying 'I would not sleep...[for] the cursed thoughts that nature gives way to in repose'. (Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 7-9) We see this idea again in Act Two Scene Two after the murder, when Macbeth is very traumatised by what he has

  1. Macbeth. How does Shakespeare use language, structure and dramatic devices to create drama in ...

    Social hierarchy put women below men in terms of authority in almost every aspect of every-day life in the 1600s whether they were peasants or nobles they would be deemed inferior and the males, more often than not, took the domineering roles and were deemed superior to their social counterparts.

  2. Macbeth Act 2, Scene 1~2, How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    Verbs associated with pain and terror are spoken by Lady Macbeth, these are "scream" and "cry", which fits once more with the lexis of evil. The language has a 'deadly' affect on the audience. Shakespeare uses a dramatic technique in the scene called stycomythia, which involves the playwright 'cutting' up lines and staggering them the page.

  1. Macbet Act II Scene II

    When Macbeth comes back after murdering Duncan, he is carrying the daggers he used. This suggests to the audience that he is not in a proper frame of mind, and is still shocked by what he has done. It also suggests that he is not in control.

  2. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension inAct 2 Scene 1 and 2?

    guilty about his intensions, therefore creating tension as to whether he will go through with the murder or not. Macbeth tries to build up his courage by reasoning with himself, that although it's a trick of his mind, it is real to him and is a sign.

  1. What Dramatic Effect Does Shakespeare Aim For In Act II, Scene II and How ...

    Lady Macbeth : Now. Macbeth : As I descended? Lady Macbeth : Ay. Macbeth : Hark! This exchange between Macbeth and his wife is a prime example of how Shakespeare has used short sentences. In the scene, they are used to show tension and the jerkiness of conversations, making it seem as if Shakespeare wants us to see the

  2. Macbeth - What dramatic effect does Shakespeare aim for in Act 2, scene 2, ...

    This is obvious evidence of how Lady Macbeth is no longer as heavy influence on Macbeth as before the murder. Macbeth is outright denying to do as she tells him to, and Lady Macbeth now has to be the practical one.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work