Shakespeare: Mixed Feelings & Moods [MACBETH ACT2]

“Analyse the ways in Shakespeare evokes contradictory feelings towards his characters.”

Following the previous Shakespeare post, Macbeth has me contradicted. He is displayed as this character who seems so strangely brave in the first act. This is being challenged in the second act as he is “Lady Macbeth-ed” into killing Duncan, though the thought seed originated from him. The contradiction is of him pre- and post-murdering Duncan where he displays everything but bravery.


“Comment on the significance of dialogue and ensemble scenes in affecting mood and positioning the audience.”

The beginning of Scene 2 Act 3 envokes fear in an ominous way through having one character speak so much and so repetitively. This is the porter scene where he repeats, “Knock, knock. Who’s there?” (2-3,6,10,13) after the knocks, the audience can hear and answers himself differently every time. The first answer, with the question “Who’s there i’th’name of Beelzebub?”(3), was “Here’s a farmer that hanged himself on th’expectation of plenty,” (3-4) which mentions expectation and the devil through the name of Beelzebub. This scene, being before the murder of Duncan is known, is dramatically ironic as he describes gloom even before knowing.

The scene after Duncan’s murder where there is a huge ensemble of characters panicking envokes chaos through merely having so many people present on stage at one time. The audience does not know who to focus on because there is so much to focus on and so much rambling as well as speaking in unison. Saying, “Well contented,” before everyone exits the stage, save Malcolm and Donalbain, makes it an everyone speaks and then no one speaks moment.

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