Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Macbeth is one of the most violent and intense scenes of the play. This scene is essential to the plot because it produces and develops Macbeth’s character as well as showing the first signs of guilt. It also presents a powerful and different side of the duo, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after the death of King Duncan. He successfully uses a range of evocative language techniques to develop and explore the ideas of being a victim of fate, guilt and the issue of masculinity presented in Act 2, Scene 2.
In 2.2 the dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth reveals information to the audience about the aggressive nature of their relationship. The ideas of being the victim of fate and the issue of masculinity are linked together in this scene. Lady Macbeth and the Witches see Macbeth as the perfect victim of fate. He has no power of control over Lady Macbeth’s or the witch’s commands. Lady Macbeth’s imperative voice compels Macbeth to arrange the murder, what to do with the dagger and most famously when she orders him to wash his hands, “Wash this filthy witness from your hands”. Although Macbeth performs the deed, it is Lady Macbeth that is orchestrating the attributes. Macbeth being a victim of fate, issues of masculinity overpowering his judgment, leads him to be tormented by his guilty and remorseful conscience.
In this scene we can see the theme of guilt presented through Macbeth. Shakespeare shows the murderer of the king tormented by his own guilty conscience and driven to his doom. Having the murder of Duncan happen off stage, makes the audience focus on the emotional and psychological effects of committing the deed. “But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’?”, Macbeth is greatly disturbed because of his inability to say ‘Amen’ when Duncan's body guards had finished their prayers. He sees this as a bad sign. After Duncan’s death, the audience is able to understand the complexity of feelings between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth...
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