How does Shakespeare convey Macbeth’s relationship with his subjects and contemporary attitudes towards Kingship In Act 3, Scene 4? In Jacobean society, there was a very rigid idea of what a King should represent and how he should act. Ideas such as Divine Right, order, stability and health, and contemporary beliefs such as Heaven and Hell meant the concept of Kingship was of great interest to the Jacobean people.
However, important events taking place around the time that the play was written somewhat unsettled these contemporary ideas, lust as Macbeth Itself does. The throne had recently passed from a childless English Queen, Elizabeth, to James, a Scottish King interested in witchcraft, unsettling the balance between men and women at the time. This is represented in the play by the relationship and power struggle between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
The Gunpowder Plot in 1605, a year before the play was first performed, directly contrasted the image of a King being placed by God and therefore being untouchable, and the Clvll War although taking place sixty years after the play, saw the King beheaded, another direct contradiction to Divine Right. The contemporary ideals of the time coming under pressure may have been Shakespeare’s motivation for writing Macbeth. The scene opens with Macbeth addressing the Lords, inviting them to sit down.
He is attempting to assert his kingship by saying “You know your own degrees, sit down;” but also tries to appear friendly and mingle with the guests. When he says he’ll ‘play the humble host;’ he embodies the Irony of the scene, as he Is Indeed ‘playing’ or pretending at not just being a kind and harmonious host, but at being King entirely. This links in with the murder of Duncan earlier in the play, as Macbeth was also the deceitful host. Macbeth speaks to the Lords as if King, yet Shakespeare uses constant irony and language that suggests he does not belong on the throne.
Here Ill sit ith’mldst” shows him trying to blend in and secure Kingship, though at this point the murderer walks In, representing the constant Interruptions Shakespeare Injects as Macbeth comes closer to gaining the trust of those around him and ultimately becoming a successful King. Lady Macbeth proves more successful at this, stage- managing the scene as Macbeth loses his grip on the situation. “Sit, worthy friends. My Lord is often thus” shows how she keeps formality with their subjects, and “My worthy Lord, your noble friends do lack you” shows her use of formal address even within their relationship.
Macbeth attempts to act out a traditional and contemporary reign, yet ironically contradicts these ideals at every point in the banquet scene. The murderer’s entrance and side conversation oppose Jacobean ideals of the King being Holy and ighteous, though Macbeth’s many euphemisms for death and reluctance in naming the deed show that he Is desperate to be a rightful King, and Is not confident in the ghost of Banquo is in keeping with the underlying idea of murder and regicide that runs throughout the play.
At the end of the scene Macbeth admit that “blood will have blood” and says “l am in blood Stepped in so far”, showing that blood is constantly on his mind, and “Returning were as tedious as go o’er” his decision to continue with the bloodshed to try and achieve ‘rightful’ Kingship.
William Shakespeare's Macbeth: Act 3 Scene 4 Essay
617 Words3 Pages
William Shakespeare's Macbeth: Act 3 Scene 4
The very start of the scene begins with order, commencing with a banquet. The director might choose to set the stage as a grand hall with a large banquet table accompanied with a majestic feast. The room would appear grand and formal. Overall the scene is set with a sense of perfection. Macbeth enters and addresses his guests,
"You know your own degrees, sit down. At first
And last the hearty welcome."
Macbeth acts extremely noble and would be regally dressed. He has become accustomed to fitting into his role as King. The atmosphere is light hearted the lighting would be gentle.
As the first murderer appears at the door, tension and suspense…show more content…
This suddenly creates a large climax of the build up of tension and horror. Lighting would change and so the music would be more sinister as to show Macbeth's delirium. The director would probably choose to have the ghost visible to the audience, which would create more horror as only Macbeth can see the ghost. At this point Macbeth is filled with trepidation, as the ghost would be a grotesque figure. If the ghost was not shown, the audience would still feel a large sense of fear as Macbeth hilariously screams to the ghost, "Hence, horrible shadow, Unreal mockery, hence!" The atmosphere is frantic as Lady Macbeth tries to reassure the guests and regain order.
"The fit is momentary, upon a thought
He will again be well. If you much note him,
You shall offend him, feed and regard him not."
Order is restored, but when the ghost returns Macbeth returns to his frenzy,
Avaunt, and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!"
Macbeth would be pale, shaking, petrified unable to compose himself. Lighting and music would again be used to create the malicious evil around him. At the end of the scene, the tension is dropped slightly as Macbeth regains his composure.
"And betimes I will, to the weird Sisters.
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to