Structural analysis and classification as a tragedy referat

Structural analysis and classification as a tragedy

The dramatic function of the first act in a classical play is to serve as the exposition. For Macbeth, it starts with the introduction of the witches and their influence on the protagonist as the drama’s leitmotif. When they first encounter Macbeth and Banquo to predict their future, the viewer can already sense Macbeth’s determination. This is where Shakespeare introduces the exciting force. By the end of the first act, the plan to kill the King is perfect and thus the conflict established. The second act covers the rising action, which in this case is the actual murder of King Duncan. The tension is high and the viewer is emotionally involved. There were no pauses between scenes in Shakespeare’s time, so at the point where the tension is at its peak level, the porter scene is inserted as an interlude with less dramatic significance and a relieving, almost comic touch. Act three is not only the actual centre of the drama in terms of text length, but also the peak of the dramatic curve. Macbeth’s conversation with the murderers contributes to the rising action, and when Banquo is killed and his son escapes, it is clear that Macbeth’s downfall is inevitable. The dramatic climax follows one scene after this turning point. During the banquet scene, the protagonist’s internal conflict is so heavy that it is visualised as Banquo’s ghost. His outburst of rage and how Macbeth and the audience can see the ghost while all the other characters cannot leads to the highest possible identification of the audience with the protagonist. In act four, the fall of the dramatic curve is invoked by the withes’ further predictions, which heavily canalise the following action and leave only one possible resolution: the death of Macbeth. We are even given a mystic, though detailed description of the events during the catastrophe. We now exactly what is going to happen, while the only question remaining to be answered is how it is going to happen and how the predicted criteria for Macbeth’s death are going to be met. Scene three contains a dialogue between Macduff, Malcolm and Ross about the miserable conditions of their country and how Macbeth is responsible for them. This accounts for most of the falling action. Act five should satisfy any spectator’s needs. The first part of the catastrophe, which is probably written for the female audience identifying with Lady Macbeth, consists of her confessing while sleepwalking and her suicide, and the second part, for the blood-and-gore type male audience, delivers the final battle ending with Macbeth’s defeat.

Macbeth is clearly to be classified as a tragedy. It lacks Aristotle’s unity of time and place, which is inevitable when we are dealing with a historical drama. Instead, Shakespeare fills the gap with a unity of tone and atmosphere, which is, throughout the play, solemn and gloomy. The idea of possession by withcraft as the protagonist’s driving force binds the drama together faster than a restriction in time or place ever could. Macbeth’s amibitions and how they lead to his coronation, downfall and death create a typically tragic plot. Although Macbeth is described with a series of negative attributes in the fourth act, he still qualifies as a hero, because we know that his action is motivated by evil forces. Thus, the criteria for the classic tragedy are fully met.


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