What might the effect of the following sound effects be to the audience in "Macbeth"?
a)the bell at the end of Act Two, Scene 1?
b)the owl referred to in Act Two, Scene 2?
c)the knocking that ends Act Two,Scene 2 and continues in Scene 3?
d)the "alarum bell" in Act Two, Scene 3?
The audience will be intense on the action, and these sound effects will effect them as profoundly as they do the actors involved on the stage.
For instance, the audience is well aware that the bell in Act II, scene i is the signal for Macbeth to move toward Duncan's room and commit the murder. Macbeth's comment is, "I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell." The bell would have the effect of ominous events to come, the audience would be on the edge of its seat with anticipation.
The owl mentioned in Act II, scene ii would also be an ominous warning. The audience would see both the owl and the crickets as prophetic of death.
LIkewise, the knocking would effect them in much the same way. The deed is done by this time, and like Macbeth, the audience might wish that it had not been committed. Macbeth states, "Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" The audience, like Macbeth will recognize the deed as an evil one, and now the plot is in motion. The deed will not go unpunished.
The trumpet and the alarm bell in Act II, sc iii would indicate the Last Judgment. It is also a prophetic and tense effect. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are guilty, and time will tell what their punishment will be for taking the life a man so greatly loved that even the earth and the creatures on it rebuke his foul murder.