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"Macbeth" William Shakespeare: Re Read Act 2 And Examine Some Of The Methods Which Shakespeare Uses In This Act To Create A Feeling Of Tension On Stage Following Duncan's Murder.

1153 words - 5 pages

Act 2 in Macbeth deals with the murder of King Duncan by Macbeth and the situation created following his death. The murder takes place in Scene 1 of Act 2. Scenes 2, 3 and 4 describe what happened after the death. Shakespeare creates tension with several methods in these 4 scenes very effectively.Shakespeare builds up tension gradually through scene one before we reach the murder. Later on, in scene 2 he creates even more tension by presenting what happened after Macbeth killed King Duncan. "An owl shrieks" Shakespeare uses the owl to create tension at the start of scene 2. The owl was thought to be a bird of ill omen just like the raven we saw earlier in the play. Here, Shakespeare personifies the owl with the night watchman who rings the bell outside the cells of prisoners who are about to be executed. This creates tension because combined with the dark corridors of the palace they create a frightening image that sends chills down our spines. The dialogue between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth is in short quick phrases. These help Shakespeare to emphasize the anxiety that runs through the characters at that exact moment and add to the tension of the scene. We see Lady Macbeth losing her courage and drinking to regain it. Macbeth has returned holding the daggers which he used to commit the murders and shows that he is regretting what he did. This state of mind of the characters adds to the anxiety that the audience is feeling because they don't know if Lady Macbeth and Macbeth will be able to keep it together and not betray themselves when the others come.Later, Shakespeare uses one of his most common devices to increase tension on stage, a knock on the door. This is an effective device because we can see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with blood on their hands, and we don't really know if they are going to be able to wash off the blood from their hands before anyone notices. She tells him to "wash this filthy witness from his hand" and before that she says to Macbeth that he shouldn't "think so brain-sickly of things". This shows that lady Macbeth is aware that her husband might betray them and this adds to her concern, as well as the overall anxiety of the scene.In the next scene the mood of the play changes to black comedy. This was used by Shakespeare to contrast and to relieve us from the dramatic scene of the murder. The porter who was drunk and making jokes though, had a completely opposite effect to me. The porter, without knowing, says some things that where ironic and completely contrasting with the events of that night, "but this place is too cold for hell". This is ironic because the ultimate crime, regicide, was committed there and the only place that the murderer deserves to go is hell. Also some of the porter's references about the devil are parallel to the murder and the reference to him being the "hell-porter" is comic-tragic because it is actually true, and this adds to the tension of the scene because he is so close to the truth but he...

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