Shakespeare uses vivid and powerful forms of imagery to let the audience visualize the setting. Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a strong woman who is attracted to power and would do anything to be in control; she is anything but an elegant and sensitive woman. After the bloodshed begins, however, Lady Macbeth falls an easy prey to insanity and guilt. Her soliloquy (5.1.24-30) shows her decline into madness when she says,“out damned spot...”
There are many examples of visual and aural imagery throughout the play. The murder of Duncan is indicated by the clanging of a bell and the knocking at the gate. Though they are not described in the text, the stage directions are enough to build up the tension. The knocking occurs between each line that is spoken in a rhythmic regularity. There is a great emphasis on the knocking because it startles Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they quickly try and cover up their involvement in the murder. To add to the intensity, the fact that the entire scene (2.2) takes place at night builds up the suspense as the darkness is used to bring up peculiar components like cruelty and the supernatural. Darkness as a thematic tool is instantly used by Shakespeare in the opening of the play. The three witches enter in “thunder and lightning” which sets the mood of the play, which becomes Shakespeare's habitual way of introducing the witches into a scene. Introducing the supernatural and the witches to the audience at the beginning, intensifies the significance of their role. The audience can now ascertain that even when the witches do not appear directly in a scene, the progression of the plot will revolve around their prophecies. Shakespeare reminds us of the gloominess of the play by creating uncertainty in Lady Macbeth’s expectant wait for her husband, which soon becomes nervousness and excitement as he arrives. Animal imagery, a frequent motif, in this case, the shrieking of the owl is considered as an indication that “He is about...
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