Explore and Analyse the ways that Shakespeare makes Act Two Scene Two of Macbeth dramatically effective
Macbeth is an extremely tragic and famous play; a Royal audience was the first to see one of Shakespeares most famous fictional wonders. The play itself is classed as a tragedy because the true and rightful King had got murdered and betrayed by a once noble, loyal knight of his own flesh and blood. Macbeth is based upon a misguided soldier, and even arguably broken man, let on by three deluded and also misleading witches, who have a huge impact on Macbeths life. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth is a key character to the plot of the story; she also is an influential role on Macbeth.
Act 2 Scene 2 is an exceedingly pivotal scene; this is where Macbeth is cleverly convincing and persuading Lady Macbeth to murder King Duncan. This play was written approximately the same period of time that King James 1st had survived an attempt to destroy his own life, the Gunpowder plot, so conveniently Shakespeare linked this to his play.
The first three scenes of Act 2 are eminently structured or even efficiently sandwiched and this is shown by how the first scene introduces Lady Macbeths character. The positioning of the end of Act 1 and the start of Act 2 shows Macbeth being influenced by Lady Macbeth so much that he is convinced to murder King Duncan. Towards the end of Act 1 sees Lady Macbeth using powerful language to persuade her husband to kill the King. Macbeth is aware of the dangers he faces by both killing Duncan and becoming King himself, and ultimately this is why he is uncertain that ultimately his actions could be fatal. This is the first time that the audience has met Lady Macbeth, and she is shown in complete contrast to Macbeth; here the anthesis between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is introduced for the first time. She has the ability to twist his emotions and play on his conscience. He is completely wrapped around her finger. He gradually falls under her command. The contents of Scene One include Lady Macbeth slyly convincing her husband, Macbeth to murder King Duncan. Following on, in the second scene, her influential role on Macbeth comes to life, when Macbeth genuinely murders King Duncan. The scenes flows nicely from each other, building up the plot of the story and the tension for the audiencespectation.
At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 2, Lady Macbeth enters with a strong and commandive presence on stage (her soliloquy), showing that she is in control and that she is the who is in command and governs not just herself, but also her husband. She has a sly technique of getting what she wants, when he doesnt obey or follow her orders; If I can do it why cant you, when she is saying that to her husband she is questioning his manliness, so he heeds her, because if he does not, his ego and emotions are distorted, and then no longer can be regarded as a man, in his own eyes. Furthermore, she states, What hath quench'd them hath given me fire. This quote is basically saying that what has disabled and hurt the guards has empowered her with strength and more self belief of her, not his accomplishments. Following on; was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman. Here the owl is used as personification for death. The adjective fatal, makes death sound more momentous and significant as this is an important milestone in the play, where King Duncan gets murdered, but also where Lady Macbeth really shows that no one can stand in her way.
He is about it. This is where Lady Macbeth belittles Macbeth by referring to him as He and not by his name. Her doing this shows that she is not scared or afraid of him, but more like she is the one who wears the trousers in the house. She is dominant and sneakily possessive. Also, this quote shows that she knows that Macbeth is prepared to do the deed, which in his and her eyes it will benefit him. In addition, another quote of Lady Macbeth; I have drugg'd their possets, the language she uses I indicates that she is claiming full responsibility and dominance over her actions and she is proud of what she has done.
When considering the theme of nature, Lady Macbeth continues to say, That death and nature do contend about them, whether they live or die. Here she is expressing she does not care one bit about what will happen to the guards, or what state they are in, showing no repentance at all even at the murder of the innocent King Duncan, as long as the deed is achieved and her plan runs smoothly. She is obsessed with the own selfish gain.
Macbeth returns to the stage to Lady Macbeth, now the murder is complete. In some plays of Macbeth, the murder is not shown on stage, so the audience picks up that Duncan has been murdered from the initial reactions of Macbeth and from the atmosphere that has been set, the build up of tension, and screen play; mise en scene. And also the owl which is used as personification. Macbeth says, I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? Now that he has done the deed Macbeth is getting self conscious and worried, displaying his nervousness and him being precarious. He is questioning himself, that has he really murdered King Duncan. He is living in a subliminal world at the period of time; in shock and unsure if he has done the deed. Moreover, Macbeth is unable to say murder, as if that if he said it, he would be unable to face the truth. Macbeths guilt and conscious are evident throughout this scene. He knows that to murder a King means certain damnation to Hell, but also, if he becomes King, his fate could be the same as Duncans. Royalty were not crowned following a bloodline during the 1600s.
Lady Macbeth uses imagery of crickets and owls, which were a common indication of death. Back in the 16th Century, peoples beliefs ran strongly on superstition and religion. The society ran their lives on these two things as belief to predict the future. Furthermore, the alliteration crickets cry catches the readers/audiences attention and giving the phrase importance of deathly subjects. And again the owl is a symbolic illustration of death. Lady Macbeths mood is highly untroubled and tranquil, showing that she can handle what has happened, she is portraying as if nothing has altered to her, unlike Macbeth. At this point in the play it is definite and clear that the anthesis is depicted between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. As he shows remorse and a guilty conscious, she embraces her victory and remains bold and proud of what she is.
The dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth progresses; there is another good phrase of alliteration; This is a sorry sight. at the moment of time Macbeth is feeling great remorse and unbearable guilt of his deed. Lady Macbeth counters by saying; A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. This shows she is not empathising one bit with Macbeth, but telling him what it is, stating the facts. She is penalizing and shoving what he has done right back into his face, his guilt amplifies, escalates.
Their dialogue continues with; One cried God bless us! and, Amen the other, as they had seen me with these hangmans hand. Listening their fear, I could not say Amen. In this part of Act Two Scene Two, Macbeth focuses on religion and belief, referring to Amen. When he says Amen he cannot say it with full honesty on belief, because he knows the horrendous truth he has committed. Also, he knows that he is not a part of his religion anymore; hence that is why he cannot say Amen with full compassion. But yet he still says it to try and make amends. Above all he knows that he is condemned because he has betrayed his religion. Lady Macbeth responds with; Consider it not so deeply In this short statement of reply, she neglects and tries to minimize the enormity of the situation; the growing unstable state of Macbeth by telling him not to prolong his thinking over his deed. Macbeth then, expresses to Lady Macbeth that he is still concerned that he cannot still pronounce Amen properly with a full compassion and truth. Again, she tries to dismiss the situation, and giving a short explanation why to please Macbeth because she does not want to remind him of is deed. Furthermore, so he doesnt not break down, because the state at the moment he is in already replicates him falling apart, with his short sentences, worried mind and insecurity; I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?. Macbeth then uses the personification of sleep, 'Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep', the innocent sleep. Macbeth then deciphers how sleep is a natural antidote in this is respect and that it heals your mental wounds, and also you can embrace solace. Its a peaceful period of time where your mind is refreshed and clearly restored. But due to the sin that he has committed h can no longer embody sleep, because of the guilt and remorse he is showing towards his actions. Here Macbeth describes sleep as Chief nourisher in life's feast , meaning whatever you experience in the journey of life; the good and the bad your sleep will always be there to ensure you start everyday with a clean slate. Lady Macbeth remains confused.
Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more. In this quote Macbeth identifies himself as characters; Glamis and Cawdor. He states that Glamis hath murdered sleep consequently meaning that he has killed his own sleep by murdering Duncan, thus as he is Cawdor as well as Glamis he can no longer sleep. Macbeth is aware that his deeds have turned him into an evil murderer, and that he has broken any loyalty he may have had with his King, cousin and country. These deeds are punishable by death, but King Duncan only showed Macbeth kindness and trust. Macbeth broke this trust by committing the most heinous deed. Lady Macbeth responds by insulting, hounding and humiliating her husbands manhood once again. Repeatedly, she persists, out shadowing and devitalizing him, attempting to make his words, as if they are lack meaning and mean nothing to her. Furthermore, she is also mocking him, including a sarcastic and flattery tone to the phrase do unbend your noble strength when on stage making the performance much more, dramatic. Drama is one aspect that can only be truly defined when watching the play; you cannot get this from just reading the book. Lady Macbeth continues having authority and shear rawness over Macbeth. She persists in bossing him around, instructing him to wash the innocent Kings blood from his hands, and maintaining her authority by questioning him and ultimately to frame the drugged guards with the crime. Macbeth eventually stands up for himself against Lady Macbeth but more in a manner of honestly to himself and states he cannot do anymore bad deeds.
Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he is being indecisive, lacking strength physically and mentally, and she is only asking him to do something half heartedly, as long as the guards get framed, she does not care. Furthermore she is expressing King Duncan and the guards as pictures; idle objectives which can do nothing, to change their state, or make change at all, just in the midst of it all. Moreover, Lady Macbeth is comparing Macbeth now to children. She states that its children who are afraid of the bloody daggers and deathly sins, and significantly showing that if Macbeth cannot do it, she shall frame the drugged guards herself. This demonstrates her willing action and dedication to her plan, and how much its set to go to right in her obscure mind. This mirrors the imagery that Lady Macbeth used previously, comparing Macbeth to a baby, threatening she would have dashed the brains out of the babe that milks me. She compares Macbeth to an innocent baby, taking all the manly qualities out of his personality, belittling him.
The relation of the imaginary daggers that Macbeth was hallucinating and the real daggers indicate that he is weak minded and that he sorely regrets murdering Duncan and knew it was the wrong thing to do, to claim the position as King. It is as though the daggers are a symbol of evil. They taunt him and lead to the source of his downfall, Duncan, Thou marshallst me the way that I was going. Macbeth, is questioning himself, why is he so irritable and nervous? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes. Macbeth has committed such a hideous crime he wants to pluck his eyes out. He has not just witnessed but committed the most horrible act that a person can do, even in the line of betrayal Will all great Neptunes ocean wash this blood Clean from my hands? he is asking questions to himself if the blood will ever wash away, in his eyes for not just from his hands but his mind and his conscious. The referral to Neptunes ocean, shows how much water it would take to wash the unforgettable sins and how Macbeth is thinking; his state of mind. In my opinion I think the blood resembles his guilty conscience, there always, his hands are his mind and the ocean as a metaphor, in the context that even of something as great as the ocean cannot wipe away the sins of Macbeth No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red. Macbeth knows himself that no amount of water will able to wash away the sins and blood off his hands. Speaking physically the blood can be washed away, but in his eyes it will never be, and also it will always be haunting in his mind.