Friday, February 26, 2010

ACT 5 – Scene Observations – Language/Music

Scene 1:

Conceptual Effects: The diction employed in Lady Macbeth’s speech is dark and tormented, as she mentions blood and fear. There is a lack of figurative language in Lady Macbeth’s speech. Her statements are simple, as she cannot speak in verse, much less to form figurative language

Musical Effects: Lady Macbeth’s speech stands out in this scene as the most important, and it is notable that her speech is in prose, which is reminiscent of the porter’s speech, when he was drunk. This conveys to us that Lady Macbeth has been affected in the mind as well, as she is walking in her sleep. In her last lines, Lady Macbeth says ‘come, come, come, come…’ and repeats the phrase ‘to bed’ multiple times, this adds to the strangeness of Lady Macbeth’s speech.

Scene 2:

Conceptual Effects: Menteith and Caithness mentions ‘anger’, as well as ‘madness’ in reference to Macbeth. This clearly shows their revulsion at Macbeth’s actions. In terms of figurative language, Lennox states “Or so much as it needs, To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.” Referring to the amount of blood that has to be spilled, where the sovereign flower is Malcolm, and the weeds being Macbeth. This is also an example of the use of nature imagery once again. The distribution of lines in this scene is even creating a serious discussion between these nobles.

Musical Effects: The nobles are speaking in normal verse. Lennox, being the last speaker in the scene ends with a rhyme: “Or so much as it needs, To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.” Which has been fairly consistent in the play.

Scene 3:

Conceptual Effects: In this scene, Macbeth speaks the most. His speech consists of demands, and insults. This is especially surprising, as even though Macbeth had not always kept his composure, his most common reaction was fear, not anger. This may reveal increasing desperation of his situation, even though Macbeth claims otherwise. He calls the servant ‘villain’, ‘lily-livered boy’, ‘patch’ and ‘whey-face’ all of which would be considered insulting in the context of the play. In terms of figurative language, Macbeth states: “My way of life Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf…” meaning the yellowing leaves of autumn. in this case, Macbeth compares his age to the aging of nature, once again.

Musical Effects: There are many breaks in Macbeth’s lines, as he is addressing two people, the doctor and Seyton. This creates language which seems rushed and hectic, as Macbeth is not addressing each of the individually, but in the same line (49-59). As per usual, the scene ends in a rhyming couplet spoken by the doctor “Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here.”

Scene 4:

Conceptual Effects: Malcolm takes on the role of leader in this scene, this is evident by the number of lines he has, and also the content, as he tries to inspire the soldiers with him. The scene is quite short, but from it, it seems Malcolm is more capable of inspiring, while Siward seems more realistic, as he knows this will end in violence (16-21).

Musical Effects: The final lines by Siward point towards the impending battle, and as it is the closing lines of the scene, they are spoken in rhyming couplet.

Scene 5:

Conceptual Effects: Macbeth’s remarks on the fear he no longer feels is backed by diction such as ‘fears’, ’dismal treatise’, ‘horrors’. He has become to accustomed and seemingly desensitized to fear, and he remains adamant that his castle will not fall to siege.

Musical Effects: In the closing lines spoken by Macbeth, they are almost all spoken in rhyme. The idea of equivocation is mentioned again in this speech, which is a continuation of what the porter had said. The way in which Macbeth speaks is noble, but what he speaks of is sorrowful and reckless. The repetition of ‘tomorrow’ (17-27) and the whole speech creates the feeling that Macbeth is growing weary of his life, as if tomorrow kept coming endlessly.

Scene 6:

Conceptual Effects: Malcolm speaks most in this scene, However, Macduff’s used of diction in the line “Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.” Foreshadows the  destruction to come later

Musical Effects: There is no rhyming within Malcolm’s line, however, there is in Siward and Macduff’s lines. The lines are short however, and it is seems to indicate that the mood is serious as these men are preparing to march to battle

Scene 7:

Conceptual Effects: The dialogue between Macbeth and young Siward is short and heated, and they speak rudely to each other. In Macduff’s speech, he is the opposite of Macbeth, he is serious in demanding a confrontation with Macbeth.

Musical Effects: Immediately before and after his confrontation with Young Siward, Macbeth speaks in rhyme, and he states that he laughs at the weapons held by a woman born man. This seems to make Macbeth careless and reckless, as even in a time of a battle, he is speaking with flair.

Scene 8:

Conceptual Effects: A lot transpires over the course of this scene. In terms of language, diction pertaining to blood, death and weapons reoccur. This suggests the conclusion of his life is near, and he bravely fights Macduff. For the initial segment of the scene, Macbeth and Macduff both have prominent speaking roles, and then, they fight. The play ends with a speech by Malcolm, which in effect summarizes and concludes the reign of Macbeth. In the speech, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are described as “…this dead butcher and his fiendlike queen,” and a sense of justice seems to be achieved in overthrowing them.

Musical Effects: The use of language becomes more positive after Macbeth is killed, The use of exclamation is not in shock or distress, but rather as celebration, and the final lines, as always end in rhyme.

Act Analysis:

Lady Macbeth:

Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!—One; two: why, then

’tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and

afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our

pow’r to accompt?—Yet who would have thought the old man to

have had so much blood in him?


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!’

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

These two speeches are similar, as they both signify the end of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, but the presentation of the thoughts are very different. In Lady Macbeth’s speech, she is speaking in prose, and in disjointed segments, this is significant when she says ‘Hell is murky.’, as if she was interrupting herself also, these lines are not even in length, and have no rhyme or rhythm to them, the lines often continue with enjambment, and it is clear to the reader Lady Macbeth is not well.

This is not the case in Macbeth’s speech. In terms of language, he is clear in his expression of thoughts, and the speech has a somber and melancholy rhythm to it. Opposed to Lady Macbeth’s speech, it is written in verse. Additionally, Macbeth repeats the word ‘To-morrow’ to great effect, as it expresses his boredom with life, as it seems to keep dragging on and on. Lady Macbeth does not have the opportunity to express herself so clearly and with such artistry.

This contrast reveals the difference in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s character, and solidifies the roles they play which have since been reversed. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth was shocked by the murder of which he committed, but now, the person to pay for it is his wife, who has encouraged Macbeth to follow with his murder.


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