MACBETH - LITERARY TECHNIQUES (Social/Cultural/Historical (Written in…
MACBETH - LITERARY TECHNIQUES
plotting to kill
juxtaposed with welcoming him to castle - this develops her character & makes her murderous intentions more dramatic
Structure of typical tragedy
1st part builds to turning point of Duncan's murder and 2nd part the consequences leading to main character's downfall
Tension in Act 1 & 2 - rapid scene shifting between Mac & enemies in Act 4 & 5
Structure allows development of characters
starts honourable but corrupted by ambition (his fatal flaw)
starts out cruel & remorseless but eventually goes made from guilt
Circular structure - starts & ends with battle to defeat a "
" & order restored at end of play
Length of scenes varied
scenes speed up action & make play more exciting -
has 9 short scenes - Lady M goes mad, English army arrives, lady M kills self, Macbeth sees Birnam wWood on move, Macbeth kills Young Siward, Macduff kills Macbeth & Malcolm becomes King
scenes let Shakespeare explore characters' emotions & reveal true characters -
ACT 4 Scene 3
Malcolm tests Macduff by claiming to be unfit King & Macduff's reaction shows he is loyal to Malcolm & passionate about country - later in scene Macduff learns wife & kids dead - his grief shows he ares about family too
Hinting whats going to happen keeps audience on edge of seats
Act 1 Scene 3
- witches tell Mac he'll be king creating anticipation
Act 1 Scene 4
- Mac hears Malcolm is heir not him so will have to do something to become king now
Act 1 Scene 1
- witches let audience know they're evil "Fair if foul" & going to meet Macbeth creating dramatic tension as audience wonder who Mac is & what witches planning
Apparitions' prophecies in
Act 4 Scene 1
- audience suspects will come true but not how which builds suspense
Written in 1600s & loosely based on a real King of Scotland who ruled in 11C
Real Macbeth killed his cousin King Duncan in battle
One word title as easy for audience to remember, word of mouth = increased audiences
Scottish title allows audiences to anticipate set in Scotland
Elizabethan views on women - Lady M has power = evil
Set in time when Scotland a separate country from England
King's heir didn't have to be King's eldest son although often was
Thane = Lord
Language & Imagery
Mood & atmosphere
Characters describe what see or hear making scenes more vivid - Macduff "
destroy your sight/With a new Gorgon"
when finds body
On night of Duncan's murder Lennox hears "
strange screams of death"
provides light relief but also increases tension as the comic interlude delays discovery of Duncan's body
Metaphors - Macbeth describes Banquo as a snake & Fleance as a threat "
There the grown serpent lies: the worm that's fled
Personification - "
Life's but a walking shadow"
- towards the end Macbeth describes life as pointless.
Similes - Macbeth says he was "
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock"
Nature - represents correct order of the world
Turned wild in nature"
and eaten each other after Duncan murdered
Plant imagery - Macbeth compared to "
and Malcolm the "
Health & disease
Represents state of Scotland
Macduff sees Macbeth's reign as causing injury to Scotland -
"It weeps, it bleeds"
Malcolm described as the "
that will cure Scotland
Blood & water
Symbolise guilt & innocence
Images of blood to represent guilt from
daggers that Lady M plants on Duncan's guards to the "
that she imagines on her hands.
Characters' language used to set scene
Act 1 Scene 1 - witches "
fog & filthy air
Dramatic irony - Duncan describes Macbeth's castle as "
Murder scene takes place on dark night - Banquo says "
candles are all out"
Short lines of dialogue, questions & exclamations to create feelings of panic & confusion
Language reveals character
Lady M describes how would kill own child "
dashed the brains out"
Witches evil intentions - "
Finger of birth-strangled babe"
Written to entertain/please the King
Writer's Technique - Symbolism -
doesn't have the qualities that other characters associate with manliness but Shakespeare shows he's kind, fair and generous, symbolising a
and getting the audience to question if a leader needs to be a