3) "Some plays are either serious or light-hearted; others include both elements." Consider some of the ways in which either or both sorts of elements are presented in 2 or 3 plays that you have studied and discuss their importance for the understanding of the plays as a whole.
Macbeth is usually considered to be a very dark, serious, tragic play as it is deemed as Shakespeare's darkest tragedy. Somber elements are presented in the play because of the atmosphere created form the murder of King Duncan. However, despite the overall sinisterness in the play, Shakespeare adds some light-hearted scenes such as the Porter scene in Act II Scene iii which allow the audience to have a break from the tense scenes.
Act II Scene iii follows the two scenes prior to and promptly after the murder of King Duncan. It serves as a cathartic release which presents a break from the tense atmosphere of the two previous scenes, as well as a comic relief to incorporate some comedic elements into the dark plot.
Even within the lighthearted scene there is still a somewhat bleak undertone as the porter imagines himself as the 'porter of hell-gate' and implies that Macbeth's castles is hell and Macbeth himself is 'Beezlebub' - the devil. This is ironic because the porter does not yet know of the murder Macbeth has carried out. The tone the porter holds is comedic. The scene itself is presented in a light-hearted manner, however, through the light-heartedness the porter's dark humor comes through. There is dramatic irony in what is said by the porter because he describes Macbeth's castle as 'too cold for Hell', intensifying the atmosphere as the castle is dark and gloomy as well as cold due to the night time. This also implies that...