What Techniques Does Shakespeare Use to Create Dramatic Tension in This Scene?

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Macbeth is known to be one of Shakespeare’s darkest and also most powerful tragedies written. In Act 3 Scene 4 Macbeth has finally found his way to the throne and throws his first social gathering as king. Macbeth needs this banquet to be nothing other than perfect, and when it ends up being absolutely horrid, Shakespeare incorporates a large sense of dramatic tension into the play that keeps the audience on complete suspense through the imagery, supernatural theme, and the confusion and chaos between Macbeth’s alter egos.

One of the most prominent themes in Macbeth is the theme of ambition. Once the weird sisters stick an idea in his mind, Macbeth is so determined to get his way to the throne that he’s willing to do just about anything to get there. Originally a man with morals and integrity learns that he has to compromise his own principles in order to get what he wants. This ends up driving him mad, and in a way becomes stuck in an identity crisis. This results in him having many alternate egos, and these are all frequently switched, which adds to the dramatic irony of the scene. The brave, righteous, and noble king Macbeth opens the scene by welcoming his guests to his dinner party. Shortly after, the first murderer enters and he switches from toasting his guests to telling the murder that “there’s blood upon (his) face” and questioning if Banquo and Fleance are “dispatch’d.” Once he learns that Fleance has escaped, he sees that his plans have failed and his lack of success bring him unhappiness, guilt and blame. This is shown when he rebuts to Fleance’s escape, “Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect; Whole as the marble, founded as the rock.” Macbeth shows that he associates his own success, power, and health all together and with perfection. When he’s in control he is sane, but when he feels as he’s starting to lose grip he loses his own sanity and becomes mentally unstable due to his own paranoia. These sudden mood changes in Macbeth...
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