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The impact Shakespeare is trying to achieve in Act 2 scene 3 of ‘Macbeth’

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I intend to set the play inside Macbeth’s home. I think Shakespeare is trying to create the impact of how Macbeth is feeling to the people, to show his emotions and how he is trying to cover up the fact that he did the murder, but not doing it very well. I think I will do a modern version of this scene, having dramatic music from the time of the murder right throughout the scene, to show the intensity of the scene to the audience. Also from watching the newest version of Macbeth, I liked the way they had made the scene and I think I would follow along those lines in some way.

The scene begins early in the morning, where there is a knocking at the door. The porter has a long speech, which is meant to be funny and give a break to the audience from all the action and misery. Often these sorts of people tell jokes, the porter, especially ‘knock knock’ jokes as they have done in this scene. Once the porter has opened the door Macduff and Lennox enters the scene; they are here to wake the king. Macbeth enters shortly after, and the tension begins here.

While Macbeth is talking to Macduff and Lennox he keeps to short sentences but that changes soon after they find the King dead. When Macduff goes into the Kings chambers Lennox and Macbeth talk to each other, Lennox explains to Macbeth how ‘unruly’ the night has been. Where their ‘chimneys were blown down’ and they heard ‘strange screams of death’. This is quite a coincidence considering that a murder has taken place that night also. For now the atmosphere is fairly tense for Macbeth because this is the crucial moment when Macduff finds the King dead.

When Macduff enters the scene again he speaks ‘O horror, horror, horror, Tongue nor heart cannot conceive, nor name thee’, meaning he cannot take in what he has just seen, because he cannot speak of the murder nor can his heart take the fact it has happened. After this line both Macbeth and Lennox speak ‘What’s the matter? ‘ Macduff speaks to both Macbeth and Lennox, saying that word cannot describe the tragedy and they must see for themselves.

While Macbeth and Lennox go and check the chambers Macduff goes around the place shouting out ‘Murder and treason! This is the cue for Banquo and Lady Macbeth to enter the scene where she comes out wondering why Macduff is shouting out such words, so early in the morning, but really she knows exactly why he is doing this. When Lady Macbeth ‘finds’ out what Macduff is going on about she says the most odd thing to say in a situation like this, ‘what, in our house? ‘ Not “oh no the king is dead” or something to do with the King, she is almost saying how could such a thing happen in our house? Macbeth and Lennox enter the scene again.

Panic and tension has built up, because know one knows what to do, and Macbeth is now starting to feel the heat under his collar. He starts off with a long-winded speech, ‘Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious, Loyal and neutral, in a moment? ‘, these speeches add to his ongoing pressure, which builds up over the scene. And continues these for a while, whereas everyone else is in panic and all are saying short sentences trying to think of what to do. In Macbeth’s speeches’ he tries to make out that he is devastated by the murder but I think Banquo suspects him somehow, probably because Banquo has known Macbeth for a long time now.

I think Lady Macbeth’s faint is intentional because she knows he is failing to cover up well and she knows that she must do something and because a woman fainting at this time is not unusual it seems normal to everyone. And calms the tension on Macbeth down some. Just before Lady Macbeth’s faint Malcolm and Donaldbain enter the scene also confused as to what is going on. Once they find out that their father is dead they become scared I believe. This is because they talk about the fact that they might be next on the murderers mind of the murderers mind. So they think of fleeing away to Ireland and England.

I think from this scene Shakespeare wants to create a build up of tension in the atmosphere to keep the audience right with the play, because a lot of the time if a play is very tense the audience is usually tense. As for the beginning part with the porter, I think it was put in there to calm everyone down before the dramatic part of the scene. From the overview of the scene I have just done it gives me my basic idea for my own version of the play, I think for starters I shall keep to the tension being made, but I will try and dramatise the scene more with use of a modern scene and dramatic music.

I got this inspiration from watching Shakespeare Shorts version of this scene, with Rys Ifans, where it is set in modern times, the porters part appeals to me especially. I think the time of day is very important for this scene and also the weather outside is to be considered. I think early morning time, 6:00 AM, and the weather would be foggy outside with low lying, but large, clouds. I think this would create the sense of early morning, perhaps the break of dawn where the king’s men have gotten up early to wake him. As for the place where the king is, I think it would be a modern version of a castle.

For instance instead of it being just a stone wall inside and out I would make it decorated on the inside yet it must keep to the feeling of being a very large place. I think the windows would need to be large pains of glass, perhaps even stained with some pictures on them. But the curtains on them would be drawn in this scene so that red neon lights can be used to light up the place, this gives the effect of reminding the viewer of the blood stained daggers and the murder itself. Another feature of the inside would be that I would put in a large main section from which large stairs come from both sides and converge into one.

The porter would come down these stairs speaking his lines. This feature also gives the viewer a feeling of how big the place is. The next physical feature of the modern castle, which I think is important, is the corridor, which leads to the king’s room. Again I shall be lit up by red neon lighting and won’t be as wide as most of the corridors, this is because I feel that in tight spaces with people you tend to sweat and tension will grow for Macbeth because he will be sweating even more. The corridor should also be long so that they, Macbeth, Macduff and Lennox, can say their lines, which are before they come to the door of the king’s room.

I think next the costumes are to be considered. I’ll start with the porter, I think he needs to be wearing something radical, and an odd hairstyle perhaps spiked up, bright colourful clothes. He needs to have a freaky laughter for when he tells his jokes; I think the lead singer from Prodigy would suit the Porter, because of his wacky hairstyle in ‘Firestarter’ and his voice. Next is Macduff and Lennox, these two should really be wearing something similar, black suit trousers for both of them, and a different colour shirt, NOT a T-Shirt thought, they have to look rather important yet not as important as Macbeth shall look.

Macbeth shall be in an expensive black suit with the jacket in black as well, but he shall be wearing a red shirt, again to remind the audience of the blood. All three men won’t wear a tie, because although they are important a more casual approach is needed I think. As for the last main character of importance, Lady Macbeth, she should come into the scene in an expensive nightgown, but must look awful almost like a witch, this is to show the evil inside her. Now that I have talked about the physical aspects of the scene, I think I need to consider the way the scene is delivered to the audience.

I think I will start at the beginning of the scene and work my way through to the end of it. So the first thing on the scene is the porters part, this needs to be played in a funny way to make the audience laugh a little, not too much though that is important. He needs to take enough time to get the front door but still be able to fit his lines in before he gets there. Next is the way he needs to express his lines, I think it needs to be short sharp sentences, and whenever a knock is heard he, the porter, needs to stop and look around as if looking for where the knock came from.

Lennox and Macduff are almost as a pair I think because they come on the scene together and act the same. I think that when Macduff and the porter are talking, Macduff needs to not take the porter seriously about his opinion on what drink does to you. Lennox says nothing up until the point where Macbeth enters the scene. Lennox and Macduff need to talk in a serious manner to Macbeth, they will talk while walking down the corridor, which leads to the king’s room.

Macbeth needs to show the tension and anxiety which is growing inside him up until the point where the king is found dead, this is where his anxiety will leave him but the tension will increase, his lines need to be drawn out and long winded. I think those are the main points for Macbeth. Lastly Lady Macbeth, she has to show the evil that she holds inside her. I think the main part to focus on is the bit where she knows Macbeth is opening up like a book and decides to fake a faint which breaks the long winded speeches of Macbeth.

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