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Dramatic effects

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Dramatic Effects

A classic theatre

Macbeth was written for the stage.

It is important to show your awareness of the genre of a text. Macbeth is above all a drama, intended to make its impact in performance on the stage.

This can sometimes get forgotten when you are reading the play from a book in class or studying at home! When writing on Macbeth in your critical essays for Higher English, you should:

  • avoid writing about the characters as if they are real people
  • avoid writing about the play as if it is a novel
  • avoid referring to the play as a 'book'

Always include some dramatic terms in your answer. These can be simple ones such as stage and audience, or more technical ones such as aside and soliloquy.

Dramatists use many dramatic devices, as the tricks of the trade are known, to make their plays grip the audience. The audience accept the lack of reality in some of the tricks used. For example, we realise we are hearing the internal thoughts of a character performing a soliloquy or an aside, while in reality only facial expressions might reveal someone's thoughts, and then not always clearly.

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