Any moment in the play "Macbeth" when the audience is privy to more pertinent information than one or more characters onstage is an instance of dramatic irony. An example is when King Duncan exhibits a positive outlook upon arriving at Inverness, where the audience already knows he will be murdered. Shakespeare Online posits that this play is exceptional for its pervasive use of dramatic irony.Know More
Another example of dramatic irony with King Duncan is when he expresses trust for Macbeth in act one, scene four, having no idea that Macbeth is going to kill him. This same scenario elicits dramatic irony from the character of Lady Macbeth when, two scenes later, she affects a genteel and formalized language in welcoming the king, after the audience has just heard her ruthlessly plotting his death with Macbeth in the scene prior.
In this way, Shakespeare throws his characters' flaws into sharper relief. The errors the characters make along the way stand out all the more when the audience is aware of their impending doom. Knowing what is coming when the characters do not creates feelings of suspense, sympathy, fear, disbelief or even anger in the audience. This heightens the emotional experience of the play and creates dramatic irony.Learn more about Plays
The three witches, also known as the Weird Sisters, who appear in "Macbeth" are important to the play as a catalyst that propels Macbeth to pursue his ambition to become king. The witches are also important to the play as symbols of fate, temptation, evil and the supernatural.Full Answer >
Sophocles' tragedy "Antigone" contains dramatic irony with the decision of Creon to bury one of Antigone's brothers with honor but not the other and with Antigone's determination and strength when contrasted with the characters' view of women as weak. In addition, Creon's dialogue often is filled with verbal irony stemming from his lack of awareness of the truth, which contrasts with the reader's knowledge.Full Answer >
Although opinions differ in the analysis of character roles in William Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth," one primary view states that Macduff is a heroic antagonist because he is opposed to the tragic protagonist Macbeth. However, a case can be made that Macbeth is both a protagonist and an antagonist.Full Answer >
Scholars believe Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth" to entertain and win the approval of King James I. Shakespeare's troupe, originally "The Lord Chamberlain's Men," changed its name to "The King's Men" to honor the new Scottish king upon his ascension to the throne. They first performed in this work in 1606 at Hampton Court Palace for James and his guests.Full Answer >