Act II: Scene 1
Act 2: scene 1 is probably one of the most famous scenes in Shakespeare literature. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the story. As the scene starts, the lines mention that it becomes dark. Darkness is a key element in this scene and is an essential element of the story in showing its major themes as a tragedy. This scene likewise contains the soliloquy involving Macbeth’s hallucination about the dagger. In this scene, Macbeth hallucinates and reality is blurred. This soliloquy is very important in this story. It is the time when the thoughts of Macbeth are made known to the audience. The psychological transformation of Macbeth is depicted in this scene. It shows the struggle in Macbeth, as he contemplates the murder of the king and it marks the end of the heroic image of Macbeth. The heroism in him is clearly removed by this scene and this was done by devoting one whole speech about the murderous plot. Afterwards, confusion and darkness envelops the character. Macbeth, being corrupted by ambition, is then transformed from a hero to a murderer. After this scene, everything is changed. This scene is very indicative of what will happen in the next Acts, until the end of the story. The soliloquy unfolds the coming tragedy. The audience is left with an evil image of Macbeth and this will be carried until the end of the story.
The story will be set in modern times or in the present time. This will give the story a new light and perspective. This will show that the themes and principles embodied in the story are universal in nature and that they are applicable to the present times. This will convey to the audience that there can be a modern day Macbeth. Ambition, power and guilt are the same, regardless of the period and setting. This will show that Shakespeare’s works are truly timeless. This will make it easier for the audience to understand the theme, and relate to the characters.
This will involve a political setting: instead of a king, the story will involve a president and other government officials. Macbeth will initially be a senator. This is because politics is one of the major concerns in this day of age and it is through politics where a noble man, can be transformed into a powerful and corrupt leader.
Set and/or props
The set will be composed of an empty dark hallway. It should be empty so that the audience will not be distracted. This is because the main part of this scene is the soliloquy about the dagger. The focus of this scene should be on Macbeth and the speech and not elsewhere. Two lamps, which are going to be at a fixed place on the sides, are needed for this scene because they are the only source of light. One lamp would be for Banquo and Fleance and the other for Macbeth. A dagger will also be used. Even if this will be set in the modern period, a dagger, instead of a gun will be used, because, stabbing person seems more aggressive, violent and brutal than using a gun. The dagger however will only be held by Macbeth and it will not be directly lighted or shown to the audience, to imply that it is part of Macbeth’s hallucination and his dark demise.
At the start of the scene, only Banquo and Fleance will be visible at the left-back portion. Everything else will be dark. They will walk towards the front middle. When they hear the voice of Macbeth, he will emerge from the right side and he will walk towards Banquo and Fleance. After their conversation, Banquo and Fleance will leave the scene from the opposite direction. Macbeth will remain at the middle of the dimly-lighted stage and he will walk back and forth as he makes his speech about the dagger.
For the actors, Macbeth will be played by a popular and award-winning actor. Aside from the fact that an award-winning actor will give the needed publicity to the show, the image and reputation of the actor will be associated with the character of Macbeth. He must be an actor with a lot of potential, and who is starting to establish his mark in the field of acting. Although the actor need not be a veteran, he will be someone whose stature is well-respected and looked up to. As the people watch the show, these characteristics will emerge and will be noticed by the audience. These are important to establish Macbeth’s heroic persona at the start of the story, and to emphasize the feeling of tragedy, as the audience is not used to seeing this actor fall into demise in his previous shows. This will help set the tone of the tragic-hero, a well-loved actor who is brought down by his ambition and drive to success. Banquo and Fleance may be played by any actor, who must not be famous. It is important that the actors for Banquo and Fleance do not have a particular image or reputation, otherwise this reputation might affect the characters. The focus of the story should be on Macbeth because this story is driven by his character and his downfall.
Macbeth will be wearing a black suit with a loose tie and a shirt that is not tucked in properly. He will be wearing all black. This will show the dark and sullen nature of the tragic story. This will also show the dark side of Macbeth. The clothes of Macbeth will not be fixed in a neat manner. They will be wrinkled, untidy and worn-out. This will show that Macbeth has fallen from his highly respected position of leadership. It will show that Macbeth is not what he used to be. The image of dark and untidy clothes will give the feeling of heaviness and that his mind is in a state of confusion. There will be no bright colors in the costumes. Banquo and Fleance will be similarly dressed, but their clothes will be worn in a neat and fixed manner.
The music will be heavy. The sound of heavy drums will be constantly in the background. It will fade out whenever there will be a dialogue, but it will fade in when no one is speaking. Its rhythm and beat will not be at a constant rate. It will change from fast to slow, and then from slow to fast. The goal is to make the feeling as heavy and as dark as possible. It can also add to the confusion in what is real or not. Music can be a strong and effective way of conveying and controlling emotion in the story. The speed will set a tone and a feeling of doom. Since this is the scene when the heroic Macbeth disappears, a dark music will emphasize the emergence of the dark and murderous Macbeth. The audience will anticipate that death is near.
From previous bright and lighted scenes from act 1, act 2 scene 1 will be dark and the lighting will be minimal. This will be one of the darkest parts of the show. This will increase the impact the dark nature of the music and costume. Like music, lighting can also help convey and control emotion in this story. Since this is the scene when Macbeth hallucinates and sees a dagger, the scene should feel heavy and evil. The dark scene will also focus on what Macbeth is saying during his soliloquy about the dagger. The audience will not be distracted, because the only thing they can focus on is Macbeth and not elsewhere. There will only be a few lights/and or lamps to provide a little bit of illumination. However as the scene ends, the lights will slowly dim, and fade into darkness and everything will be pitch black. After this scene, the story will be on its way to tragedy.
The directing style will be instructional. The actors will be given clear and specific instructions which must be strictly followed. Since this is an integral part of the story, each aspect of the scene should be done precisely in furtherance of the tragic theme. Each part of this scene has a purpose, and any deviation might change the tone and feeling of the scene. The soliloquy by Macbeth is the major part of this Act, and one of the most important parts of this story. Thus it is essential that it is executed in a manner that will maximize its effect and ensure that its purpose for setting the tone of the story.
Act II: Scene 1