Dramatic and Significant in Act 2 Scene 3 – Macbeth
Title: How does Shakespeare make this scene both a significant and dramatic moment in the play? In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth there are a lot of dramatic, exciting and tragic occurrences in many of the scenes. Although in the beginning, Shakespeare foreshadowed the tragedies that were to come nothing could have prepared the audience for what took place in Act 2 scene 3. This is the scene in which King Duncan is found murdered causing shock and panic in all the characters on stage.
He dramatizes the scene by portraying the discovery of the King’s body, by emphasizing the shock and disbelief of the characters, by the flattering description given of Duncan and by revealing to the audience the deceptive characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Duncan is the King of Scotland. He went to Macbeth’s castle to commend Macbeth in his bravery in the war against Scotland. However what he did not know was that his death was planned before his arrival.
Although we the audience only meet Duncan briefly Shakespeare provides us with an admirable view of Duncan’s character by the way the other characters describe him. For example when Duncan was found murdered Macduff had expressed his disbelief and outrage with the words: “Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope/The Lord’s anointed temple, and stole thence/The life o’ th’ building! ” In this quote Shakespeare is comparing Duncan to God’s Temple. This gives the audience an idea of how kind and just Duncan really was.
Even Macbeth calls the king “graceful and renowned” although the audience is not quite sure whether he meant it or not. Macbeth refers to the king’s blood as “the wine of life” and his body as “the dregs that remain. ” In other words Duncan’s virtuous character was in his blood and now that it has been shed only the shell remained. Macduff was the one who discovered Duncan’s corpse. He was very much frightened and shocked to find his master dead. He had arrived on Duncan’s orders to wake him up early only to find the king murdered.
He comes out of the king’s chamber traumatized saying “O horror, horror, horror! /Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee! ” To him this is unbelievable. Shakespeare depicts the shocked tone through Macduff’s words “O horror, horror, horror! ” and through the exclamation marks to represent the tone of surprise in which Macduff spoke. There was a lot of commotion after that. Macduff awoken everyone by yelling and by ringing the bell to which Lady Macbeth responds “What’s the business, /that such a hideous trumpet calls to parley/The sleepers of the house?
Speak, speak! ” Lady Macbeth demands to know for what reason Macduff rung the bell awakening everyone that was sleeping. As everyone clambers in the tension and disbelief of the other characters start to build up emphasizing the drama of this scene. The audience is well aware that Macbeth was the one that killed the King and that Lady Macbeth helped him to accomplish the mission. So when they pretend they don’t know what happened it brings out one of the major themes of this play, deception. This scene reveals the duplicitous characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a person with a conscience but not a moral one. Macbeth wants to be king but he would rather have someone else do the evil deed and take the fall while he becomes king. He nevertheless kills the king and feigns disbelief when the body is found. He also killed the two innocent guards who were framed for the murder calling it an act passionate fury. Although the characters onstage are yet to find out that Macbeth is deceitful the audience waits tensely for the moment in which all is revealed.
Lady Macbeth is also shown as a duplicitous character here in this scene. She is well aware of what took place since it was her master plan but pretends to be innocent when Duncan’s body is found. The irony in this scene is when Macduff trying to protect the Lady tells her “O gentle lady, /’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak: The repetition, in a woman’s ear, would murder as it fell” little does he know how ironic his choice of the word “gentle” is. He tells her that if he repeats the news to her she would die because of the tragedy.
However Lady Macbeth is not shocked at the news although she feigns it since she herself kept awake to see that the deed was done. Lady Macbeth earlier on the play retorts to Macbeth that she herself would have done it if she wasn’t born a woman; she originally cursed her ‘gentleness’ begging nature to take the gift of giving life away from her. She even advises Macbeth on how to be deceitful when she said “To beguile the time, Look like the time.
Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t. this shows that she is the more experienced one in being deceitful which is ironic since it’s Macbeth that is the ‘brave and worthy’ kinsmen. Shakespeare shows her to be a cruel woman who would stop at nothing for her husband’s success.
This scene is a very dramatic one leaving most of the audience on their toes in anticipation and suspense dying to know what was going to happen. Later on we discover that Malcolm the crown Prince runs away leaving the throne. This is when the audience fully realizes that the Witches were telling the truth and that their final prophecy came true. Macbeth became King of Scotland.