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Word Count: 621
In the first scene of the first act Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of mystery via the setting the suspenseful way he starts off the scene and the questions he raises surrounding the ghost The setting of the very first scene of the play exudes an air of suspense It takes place in the dark at midnight Barnardo verifies this when he reports that it is now struck twelve and advises Francisco to getto bed Iil7 The darkness of the hour is best suited to a mysterious atmosphere for darkness can hide many things Also the men are standing out on the castle battlements keeping watch The circumstance of this raises the question What might they be watching for As this question grows in the minds of the audience tension is created Thus the setting alone heightens mystery by arousing a suspenseful mood The style of writing that Shakespeare uses at the beginning of the scene builds tension For example the very first line of the play is a question Barnardo asks Whos there Iil1 even though he knows it is Francisco since he is coming to relieve Francisco of his watch duties A question always arouses curiosity and mystery In addition the very first line of a play is often significant as it can set the theme for the rest of the play since Barnardo knows Francisco is there this first line may have a deeper significance relating to the mystery of the nature of the ghost which appears later in the scene Indeed Shakespeare weaves an interrogative text at the beginning heightening the presence of the unknown A total of seven questions are asked during the course of the first twenty-one lines This shows that there is anxiety and fear dwelling amidst the men on the battlements which makes the audience wonder at the cause of their tension Likewise their edgy behaviour also suggests that they fear something that is unknown
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