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(Macbeth) “Some Plays Are Either Serious Or Light Hearted; Others Include Both Elements.” Consider Some Of The Ways In Which Either Or Both Sorts Of Elements Are Presented In 1 Play That You Have Studied.

915 words - 4 pages

3) "Some plays are either serious or light-hearted; others include both elements." Consider some of the ways in which either or both sorts of elements are presented in 2 or 3 plays that you have studied and discuss their importance for the understanding of the plays as a whole.Macbeth is usually considered to be a very dark, serious, tragic play as it is deemed as Shakespeare's darkest tragedy. Somber elements are presented in the play because of the atmosphere created form the murder of King Duncan. However, despite the overall sinisterness in the play, Shakespeare adds some light-hearted scenes such as the Porter scene in Act II Scene iii which allow the audience to have a break from the tense scenes.Act II Scene iii follows the two scenes prior to and promptly after the murder of King Duncan. It serves as a cathartic release which presents a break from the tense atmosphere of the two previous scenes, as well as a comic relief to incorporate some comedic elements into the dark plot. Even within the lighthearted scene there is still a somewhat bleak undertone as the porter imagines himself as the 'porter of hell-gate' and implies that Macbeth's castles is hell and Macbeth himself is 'Beezlebub' - the devil. This is ironic because the porter does not yet know of the murder Macbeth has carried out. The tone the porter holds is comedic. The scene itself is presented in a light-hearted manner, however, through the light-heartedness the porter's dark humor comes through. There is dramatic irony in what is said by the porter because he describes Macbeth's castle as 'too cold for Hell', intensifying the atmosphere as the castle is dark and gloomy as well as cold due to the night time. This also implies that Macbeth's castle is a place for treacherous people and sinners in general; although he describes it as 'cold' and hell generally connotes 'th'everlasting bonfire', the ninth circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno was cold and it was a place reserved for traitors and people who murdered their guests. Thus the porter unknowingly refers to Macbeth himself as he betrayed Duncan by murdering him. This can be seen as both serious and light-hearted because the porter himself is oblivious to the murder as no one knows yet, yet at the same time what he is saying is relevant to the evil deed that has just taken place.The porter's idea of Macbeth's castle being comparable to hell, contrasts to Duncan's description at the beginning of Act I Scene vi where upon his arrival he describes the castle to have a 'pleasant; seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle sense.' This metaphor intends to be light-hearted, however as the play...

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