In Macbeth, act 5 scene 8, how do stage directions, imagery and other elements reinforce its dramatic/ theatrical qualities?
Scene 8 of Act 5 is the final scene and the one in which Macbeth finds out that Macduff was born by Caesarian section and therefore "not of woman born".
Macduff kills Macbeth in this scene, off-stage, and returns carrying Macbeth's head. The drama is heightened when Macduff makes the dramatic announcement to Macbeth after Macbeth tells Macduff that he does not want to fight him. The two begin their sword fight which quickly moves off-stage, adding to the suspense. As they move off the stage, Malcolm and Siward enter the stage. Ross comes on and has to deliver to Siward the news that his son was killed by Macbeth. Even as Siward is lamenting his son's death yet calling him a brave soldier, Macduff enters carrying the head of Macbeth.
This is fitting because Macbeth has been so blood-thirsty. It is a vivid image for the viewer to see Macduff carrying the head of the enemy. If Macduff would have just come back on stage and announced that he had killed Macbeth, we wouldn't have the same level of starkness and the dramatic effect wouldn't be as strong. Since Malcolm now becomes king, having him on stage at this time adds to the finality of the scene.