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Why do you think that Act three scene four, the Banquet scene, grips an audience watching a performance of it on stage, on film or on video?

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Introduction

Why do you think that Act three scene four, the Banquet scene, grips an audience watching a performance of it on stage, on film or on video? The Banquet scene takes place nearly immediately after Macbeth betrays his former best friend and sends out a group of murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. It is the Core part of the story where a few dramatic changes take place. He sends the order to kill his friend and son as all the witch's former predictions came to light, and Macbeth believed them when they said that although Banquo himself will not become king, his offspring shall. This causes Macbeth to wonder, what good is this throne, if it will merely be taken from him by Fleance. Banquo is slaughtered but Fleance escapes. We discover this as we saw Banquo's bloody demise, no other members of the cast know this until one of the murderers actually appears at the banquet. This gives a sense of 'Dramatic Irony', which is present, more than often throughout the play. This certainly captivates an audience at a theatre production, or watching it on video. ...read more.

Middle

After the murderer departs Lady Macbeth reminds her husband of what he should be doing, he wishes his guests well and implores them to enjoy their meal. Then he mentions Banquo, almost tempting fate, and it is that actions which appears to make Banquo appear. Macbeth sees Banquo sitting in his throne, but no one else can, Macbeth does not realise until the ghost turns around that it is in fact Banquo. The Irony of Banquo sitting in the throne, is that although Macbeth is now King, Banquo was far more deserving, however this could also be perceived as a premonition of what his son will inevitably accomplish. Macbeth does not sit as he thinks this is only too real as he feels that he has a right to be there, and the audience feel the same at this point. What could cause the ghost's appearance could be guilt lurking in Macbeth's mind, it could be his madness, where when his "fit comes again" is a prelude to insanity. Nevertheless it could be the power of the witches, which courses unseen across the skies, mocking, taunting him. However it is easier to believe it is madness as the audience remembers the fanciful dagger which led him to Duncan. ...read more.

Conclusion

Beforehand Macbeth had said, if you were to attack me as any creature like "the armed rhinoceros, or the Hycran tiger" I would courageously battle you, but I cannot handle this un-dead spectre. Here we are reminded of his former heroic ways, in battle and what a vast contrast it is to this new, deranged figure."I am a man again" refers to Macbeth being himself again, not feeling challenged by this spirit. He then tries to continue with the evening but it is too late, as Lady Macbeth says, "You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting with most admired disorder." She is furious with her husband, she fails to see how he could do this to her, she feels he targeted her with his actions, yet Macbeth doesn't understand why she is so irate with him, and why no one else saw the figure. When Macbeth is questioned by Ross his wife covers for him yet again, she did this earlier in the banquet and during the Duncan scenes, she constantly has to do this throughout the play, she suggests the Lords leave and they do. The ending of the scene seems totally hectic, Lady Macbeth is nearly twitching with rage, the day has been ruined and all is not well. After the Banquet is over Macbeth and his wife are left alone. ...read more.

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