Friday, November 15, 2019

The Overwhelming Atmosphere in Macbeth :: Macbeth essays

The Overwhelming Atmosphere in Macbeth      Ã‚   The atmosphere looms heavy in William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth. However, there are some brief, contrasting moments. In this paper we shall dwell on this dimension of the playwright's work.    A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy comments on the contribution of the imagery to the atmosphere of the play:    The vividness, magnitude, and violence of the imagery in some of these passages are characteristic of Macbeth almost throughout; and their influence contributes to form its atmosphere. Images like those of the babe torn smiling from the breast and dashed to death; of pouring the sweet milk of concord into hell; of the earth shaking with fever; of the frame of things disjointed; of sorrows striking heaven on the face, so that it resounds and yells out like syllables of dolour; of the mind lying in restless ecstasy on a rack; of the mind full of scorpions; of the tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury; -- all keep the imagination moving on a 'wild and violent sea', while it is scarcely for a moment permitted to dwell on thoughts of peace and beauty. (309)    Charles Lamb in On the Tragedies of Shakespeare comments on the atmosphere surrounding the play:    The state of sublime emotion into which we are elevated by those images of night and horror which Macbeth is made to utter, that solemn prelude with which he entertains the time till the bell shall strike which is to call him to murder Duncan, - when we no longer read it in a book, when we have given up that vantage-ground of abstraction which reading possesses over seing, and come to see a man in his bodily shape before our eyes actually preparing to commit a muder, if the acting be true and impressive as I have witnessed it in Mr. K's performance of that part, the painful anxiety about the act, the natural longing to prevent it while it yet seems unperpetrated, the too close pressing semblance of reality,give a pain and an uneasiness [. . .]. (134)    In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye shows how the atmosphere is altered for the better at the end of the play:    This theme is at its clearest where we are most in sympathy with the nemesis. Thus at the

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