Monday, July 22, 2019

The change in the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay Example for Free

The change in the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay The banquet scene is a pivotal one. Discuss this comment in terms of plot, staging, character and relationships, particularly the change in the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Act 3, scene four of Macbeth the play, by William Shakespeare contains many of the themes that run throughout the play, which make the scene such a pivotal one. A main theme of the play is witchcraft and the supernatural. This is symbolised by the witches, and Macbeths vow to visit them the following day- I will to-morrow (and betimes I will) to the Weird Sisters. and is also, more importantly, present in the form of Banquos ghost in the banquet scene. This theme of the supernatural is not only vital to the plot, but was written into the play specifically to please King James 1 of England. The play was written, and performed in 1606, with the aim of impressing the new king. Shakespeare knew that King James was greatly interested in witchcraft and the supernatural- so much so that the king actually wrote a book called Daemonologie all about supernatural occurrences. Therefore, in order to make the play appealing for the king, Shakespeare included witches and a running theme of the supernatural. Another feature of the play included for the new King, is the character of Banquo. The inspiration for the story actually came from real life, in 11th century Scotland, but was changed to suit the melodrama of a play. The character of Banquo was based on a real ancestor of King James, and this, therefore, associated the king further with the plot. Banquo is shown as the good character throughout, matching Macbeths courage and bravery in war, but lacking the ambition that grips him and eventually drives him to murder. This is shown earlier in the play, when the witches predict the future. Macbeths strong sense of ambition takes over and he follows up what the witches told him. Banquo, however, does not pursue the idea. An incident that greatly affects scene four is the murder of Duncan by Macbeth. This is the beginning of the line of murders that Macbeth commits- this he does himself, others using assassins- and where he effectively steps into the blood. It is here that the tragic hero makes his fate. It is, in fact, Banquos murder in act three, scene three that confirms the swing of doubtful wrong to definite evil for Macbeth. Macbeth himself confirms this change at the end of act 3 scene 4 by saying I am in blood steppd in so far, that should I wade no more returning were as tedious as go oer and we are yet but young in deed . Another feature of act 3 scene 4 is the obvious change in relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth and his Lords. Evidence of the first can be found earlier in the play, where Lady Macbeth and her husband have a very trusting relationship, and plot Duncans murder together. When Macbeth feels nervous about killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth reassures him, knowing exactly how to make him change his mind- Wouldst thou have that which thou esteemst the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting I dare not wait upon I would, like the poor cat I the adage? It is evident throughout the play that Macbeth does not like people doubting his manliness I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more, is none., and Lady Macbeth has obviously picked up on this. For instance in act two, scene four, when Macbeth has doubts about killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth says When you durst do it, then you were a man: and to be so much more than what you were, you would be so much more the man. After she says this, Macbeth goes ahead with the murder, showing the effect his wife has on him Lady Macbeth holds the same want of power as Macbeth, and both think of killing the king before talking to the other about it. This shows that they know the way the other thinks, and want the same things. When we first see the couple meet, Macbeth greets his wife by saying My dearest love which shows his obvious affection for her. However, scene four of act three is a pivotal one in terms of the relationship between Lady Macbeth and her husband. A massive change in the relationship is evident throughout the scene. Here we see that he has not let her in on the murder of Banquo, and as he hallucinates about Banquos ghost, he still does not tell her of his deed. Lady Macbeths love of her husband and fear of getting caught is shown by her desperate attempt to conceal his guilt and to get rid of the guests. However, the change in the relationship between the two is possibly more of a reflection on the change in Macbeths character, rather than the relationship its self. Macbeths growing distrust is also shown in this scene, resulting in the break down of the so far successful relationship between he and his wife. As he goes on in his plans, his circle of trust is slowly closing in and now even his wife, whom he plotted the first murder with, is on the outside. She is not aware that he has employed the murder of Banquo and Fleance, and she thinks the ghost he sees is that of Duncan. This also shows the difference in the twos view on their relationship. Lady Macbeth, at this point, has no idea that she is being left out of proceedings, and feels she and her husband have plotted together throughout. Macbeth however, knows that he has kept Banquos murder from her, and therefore is beginning to feel that her can not even trust her. This suggests that the breakdown of their relationship has more to do with a change in Macbeths character than the relationship itself. The distrust taking over Macbeth is also evident in act three, scene three, where he hires a third murderer to ensure that Banquo and Fleance are killed. The banquet scene not only shows Macbeths character becoming more guarded and distrusting, but shows his shift from good to evil. He decides that his crimes are such that there is no point trying to reform his character. His sense of right and wrong has disintegrated into a need for power. He no longer feels as much guilt for his murders, and sees no way out of what he has already done. This is shown in the line I am in blood steppd in so far, that should I wade no more returning were as tedious as go oer . The line we are yet but young in deed also shows that Macbeth has no intention of stopping the murders, and has more plans in mind. Another change in relationship that is evident in the scene is that of Macbeth and his lords. This scene is pivotal in that we see an obvious suspicion of Macbeth from the lords that until now has been very subtle. They are startled by their new kings behaviour, and begin to question him- What sights, my lord? Lady Macbeth picks up on this and becomes worried that her husband will reveal the truth about Duncans murder. This is shown by her haste to remove the lords from the room- Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once. This is a contrast with the calmness at the start of the scene, where everyone is civilised and relaxed, and shows the disorder brought on by the death of Banquo and his ghost. The staging of the banquet scene is very important in terms of understanding the plot, especially the ghost. If done properly, the scene can be very effective, however if not, the idea of the ghost can become very confusing to the audience. The main issue when thinking of staging is putting the fact that Banquo is now a ghost and that only Macbeth can see him, across to the audience. This can be done in many ways, using different dramatic techniques. The first that could be used, is a cinematic projection of the character onto the stage. This could flicker slightly every now and again, emphasising the fact that the ghost is not real. The image would be of Banquo walking to the chair, and sitting down, projected onto a plain background or even just the scenery. I think this would be especially effective because the audience can see what Macbeth is seeing, but at the same time are aware that it is not real. While the image is playing, the rest of the cast could be brought into freeze frame while Macbeth reacts to the ghost, once again emphasising the fact that the ghost is only visible to Macbeth. The lights around the rest of the cast could also be brought down, adding to the effect made by the freeze frame. Meanwhile, a spotlight could shine on Macbeth, not only showing that he can see the ghost, but that he is now almost totally alone in his plans. Earlier it was he and Lady Macbeth that plotted together, but now he is on his own, trusting only himself. The projected image of Banquo would be the same character that played him in the performance however a costume change would be needed in order to make it authentic. The character would have to have rips in his costume, and blood and wounds on his face. This would show the audience that Banquo was in fact dead and this was his ghost. Costume change is a useful technique that would make the next idea more feasible. The actual character that played Banquo could play the ghost, and appear back on stage. This idea would be slightly less clear to the audience, but could still work. The character, once again, could have ripped clothes and blood and wounds on his face, although more care would have to be taken in order to make it clear to the audience that Banquo is actually dead. Lights could be used to great effect with this idea, for instance the main lights could go down, then lights could shine upwards on Banquo. This would give more of a spooky feel, and increase the feeling of the supernatural. Here, once again, a spotlight could be shone on Macbeth, signifying his isolation form the people he was once close to. Another way to do the lights would be to shine a spotlight on Banquo and Macbeth, leaving the others in the room in darkness. This would show that only those two were involved in the action, and could also signify the fact that they are the only two in the room that know of Banquos murder. Here, instead of using the technique of freeze frame the other characters in the scene could be moving around as they would normally be, but in silence. This would show that no one has noticed Macbeths strange behaviour yet. When using a real person, routes onto stage have to be thought of. Trapdoors could be used to give the idea that the ghost is just appearing out of no where, then disappearing, using smoke to camouflage what is happening. Another way the ghost could be hidden from the audience is just by using the wings. The ghost could enter from one side, then leave from the other, hiding in the wings, then reappearing. When the ghost enters the lights should be brought down, then brightened up again immediately as the ghost leaves. As the lights come up, the rest of the cast could come out of the freeze frame, or begin to talk if freeze frame is not used, showing that they had not seen the ghost at all. In conclusion, when considering staging plot and relationships, the banquet scene is a particularly important one. It shows a huge change in relationships between Macbeth and his wife, and his friends. It is here that the tragic hero can either redeem himself, or fall further into the clutches of despair. Macbeth chooses the easy option of continuing down the same road, blocking out the people he was once close to. Therefore, this scene is pivotal and shows changes in attitudes, relationships and, most importantly, character.

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