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What is an example of dramatic irony in Act 1, Scene 3 or scene 4 of Macbeth?  

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faree436 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:01 PM via web

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What is an example of dramatic irony in Act 1, Scene 3 or scene 4 of Macbeth?

 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:57 PM (Answer #1)

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The best example of dramatic irony in Act 1, Scene 4 of Macbeth is when Duncan says he trusts Macbeth, and the audience knows that Macbeth is expecting to become king.  Macbeth is not at all trustworthy!

There's no art

To find the mind's construction in the face:

He was a gentleman on whom I built(15)

An absolute trust. (Act 1, Scene 4, p. 17)

Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters do not.  In this case, Duncan does not know about the witches’ prophecy, or that Macbeth is expecting to become king and will kill to get the honor.  The audience knows about the witches, and so this scene is especially dramatic because we wonder what will happen next.

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faree436 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:30 AM (Answer #2)

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Sorry it was Act 1 Scene 3 !

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 19, 2014 at 5:53 AM (Answer #3)

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In Macbeth, there are many instances of irony. Irony is a literary technique and, its use in Macbeth, contributes to the plot development and the appearance and reality theme. The anticipation of events is intensified through Shakespeare's use of irony, both dramatic and situational. The fact that Lady Macbeth will be driven mad by her own desires and need to "unsex me here," (I.iv.38), determined to do anything to ensure that Macbeth is king, and at the end, in her madness, her commanding that the imaginary blood spots be washed from her hands: "Out, damned spot!" (V.i.32) is not lost on the audience as her very resolve has driven her mad. 

Dramatic irony provides information without revealing the details to the characters, themselves. In Act I, scene i, line 10, the witches introduce the audience, amidst scenes of thundering and lightning, to the concept of "fair is foul, and foul is fair." In Act I, scene iii, Macbeth, himself, then uses the same comparison when he suggests that, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (38). The audience is preparing for much more than meets the eye. Duncan will unwittingly expose himself to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's schemes. Having just been told by the witches that, not only will Macbeth be Thane of Cawdor but go on to be king, the dramatic irony drives the plot forward as incidents unfold and Duncan's men bring the good news of Macbeth's new title. Macbeth immediately begins to ponder, not only his new title but, as the witches promised much more, the possibility that, "If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me without my stir."(I.iii.143). Macbeth addresses the audience at this point and the audience can presume that, if "chance" does not, in fact, ensure Macbeth's rise to be king, he will take matters into his own hands, having been given, "an earnest of success." (132)   

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