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Macbeth the Climax in Act 3

By bignerds Jun 28, 2008 703 Words
Act III of Macbeth contains the climax of the play. Therefore the challenge of holding onto the interest of the audience is presented. However, while this may be a challenge for a lesser playwright, for a master like Shakespeare the challenge of maintaining the mood and theme is much less. The theme of the play is the downfall of Macbeth and the mood is dark and gloomy. Everything that happens, in this act especially, must maintain these ideas. In scene I, lines 92-101, the theme of the play is held up by the idea of things and people not being what they seem to be. In these lines Macbeth is talking to the murderers that he has hired to kill Banquo and Fleance. He is trying to find out what kind of men they really are and if they are capable of committing this deed. These lines support the theme of the play because Macbeth is no longer able to trust people. Because he himself is treacherous, he no longer is able to trust others. In scene 2, dark images are extremely important in maintaining the mood of the play. One of the places that this can be seen is lines 36-37. "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!/ Thou knowest that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives." These lines show that Macbeth's mind is being tormented by the fact that those two men are a threat to him. Also, by using the word "scorpions" the dark and evil mood of the play are upheld. A second place in this scene where this happens is lines 53-55. "Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,/ Whiles night's black agents to their prey's do rouse./ Though marvel'st at my words : but hold thee still." In the preceding lines the image of light fading away and dark taking over is used to uphold both the theme and mood. The light destroying the dark symbolizes the bad destroying the good inside of Macbeth as well in the rest of the country. By using words like "night's black agents" and "droop and drowse" Shakespeare further continues the dark images. The poet continues these images through scene IV. In lines 29-31, "There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled/ Hath nature that in time will venom breed..." The "grown serpent that Macbeth refers to is Banquo and the "worm that's fled" is Fleance. Macbeth is desperate to eliminate all of his challenges and is enraged that things did not go the way that he planned. This desperation adds to the ruin of Macbeth. The unnatural ruin of the main character is once again seen in lines 110-112, particularly when Macbeth says, "And keep the natural ruby of you cheeks./ When mine is blanched with fear."(lines 115-116) That statement presents the fact that fear now has a strong hold over his mind and sanity. There are also more references to dark consuming light. "And overcome us like a summer's cloud." (line 110) Essay II

In order for this play to meet the characteristics of a tragedy Macbeth must be somehow viewed as a moral character otherwise his fate is not tragic. At many points in the play his moral side almost seems non-existent, but in Act III, scene II, there is a section where Macbeth's morality slips out once again. This section occurs in lines 15-26. These lines show that Macbeth does in fact feel sorrow and guilt for what he has done. Because of this he isn't completely evil and does have potential for good. These lines tell the audience that his mind is constantly plagued with remorse for what he has done. "In the affliction of these terrible dreams/ That shake us nightly: better be with the dead,/ Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace." He is afflicted with nightmares for what he has done and therefore feels guilt. If he were truly an immoral than he would not have these feelings. This affliction of Macbeth's shows his good side and keeps the elements of tragedy alive in the play.

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