What is the importance of this scene to your interpretation of the play? Include a discussion of the plot, character, themes and use of language and dramatic techniques.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare deals with morals and human reactions, in terms of ones circumstances and aroused temptation. Macbeth’s inner-self sides from good to evil due to bad decisions, which is the basis of the tragedy. My interpretation demonstrates how excess ambition can lead to unquestioned deception. The witches deceive the contrary Macbeth to think he is invincible. Act V Scene 3 further contributes to this understanding by developing character, theme, and plot by using language and dramatic techniques.

Macbeth is a “worthy” man at the start of the play, being complemented “brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name.” The witches are the play’s source of evil, and after discussing their killing of a sea captain (I, 3); they concentrate their wickedness on destroying Macbeth. “All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” is the equivocation whose appearance “cannot be ill, cannot be good.” The composer uses dramatic irony in Macbeth’s reliance on the witches. This inner conflict creates sympathy for Macbeth and makes his downfall tragic, even though he is now considered a “murderous tyrant”.

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The themes of Macbeth are broad but strong. Macbeth is overconfident in his personal security in Act V Scene 3, “the heart I bear shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear” but disappointed with his life “I have lived long enough. My way of life has fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf”. Both of these are metaphors and contain dramatic irony because the audience knows that very soon Macbeth will scare and then be defeated. They are presented in a soliloquy that the play-write uses to show the responder the characters inner thought.

Macbeth knows that this battle will be the decider, “chair me ever or disseat me now.” This line creates dramatic imagery of the battle yet to occur, but also shows the responder how Macbeth has doubts and how false in reality his fearlessness actually is. The audience knows that the witches worded their prophecies in such a way to ensure that Macbeth misinterprets them, so he feels safe. This causes Macbeth’s overconfidence in this scene, but he still admits to be “sick at heart.” Still, Macbeth says, “I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked”, which is strong violent imagery that shows his determination to win or finally be defeated and be removed from his suffering.

Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth suffer sleeplessness since they begun their murderous rampage, “Macbeth will sleep no more” (II, 2). The nervousness that the Macbeth’s feel and the accompanying paranoia that causes the latter deaths of Banquo and Lady Macduff is because they are “in fear and sleep.” Macbeth experiences regret, “wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst” but believes “things bad begun, make strong themselves by ill” so he continues his silencing regime.

When Macbeth kills Duncan, he worries that he “could not say Amen” (II, 2) which is portraying the guilt in his actions. Macbeth wants the Doctor to “pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow” in Lady Macbeth’s mind. He is referring to the guilt and images of “blood”. Macbeth withdraws quickly when the Doctor replies “the patient / Must minister to himself” in which this remedy also applies to Macbeth. Shakespeare composes many dramatic techniques and image metaphors so the responder can visualize Macbeth’s guilty conscience.

In Act V Scene 3, Macbeth further attempts to harden his resolve by being sarcastic. His remarks to the Servant such as “Geese, villain?” and “What soldiers, whey-face?” are examples of sarcasm to hide the inner unease caused by the English force approaching. The tone in “thou cream-faced loon!” is bold and shows his overconfidence. During Act V Scene 3, the responder sees more of Macbeth’s madness, frustration and pathetic trust in the prophecies.

Shakespeare ends the scene with rhyming couplets to connect to the audience while Macbeth delivers his final stance before the battle begins, “I will not be afraid of death and bane / Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane”.

Concluding, strong dramatic contrast is what Shakespeare builds upon to create a dramatic conflict, tension and impact. Universal conflicts such as good vs. evil; violence vs. guilt and appearances vs. reality are emphasised in Act V Scene 3. Shakespeare uses a wealth of dramatic techniques to convey his message and illustrate the scene visually to the responder’s mind. Macbeth demonstrates that good will defeat evil, with violence comes unshakable guilt and appearances are not always what they seem.


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