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Show the importance, to the play, of the opening scene and the two scenes in which Macbeth meets the witches.

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Introduction

Macbeth Coursework Show the importance, to the play, of the opening scene and the two scenes in which Macbeth meets the witches. The witches are a vital ingredient in Macbeth, as they encourage Macbeth's tragic downfall. The extent to which they are responsible for his eventual downfall is an issue that I will explore at length in this essay. The play creates the inevitable question 'are they real'? They play an important role bringing an unsettling atmosphere, which creates a frightened response from the audience. The play arouses thoughts of good and evil, and also has many references that stay faithful to the Elizabethan beliefs. In this essay I wish to explore the true roles of the weird sisters. From the beginning of the play the witches display their knowledge of Macbeth's weakness. "There to meet with Macbeth," this excerpt is taken from act 1 scene 1. Commencing from this we are aware from the beginning that the witches know Macbeth, even if he does not know them. Throughout the play they abuse their supernatural knowledge of Macbeth. "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes; open locks, whoever knocks." They strive to crack him so he will give into his ambition. Some people believe that the witches are fully responsible for the murder and if the witches had not have enticed Macbeth then he would not have murdered Duncan. ...read more.

Middle

As the witches scream their wicked incantations the flashes of light will be thrown about the stage with the misty affect of the desolate place. I would want it to appear like this because Shakespeare intended for this scene to be in a desolate place. I would keep it authentic and set it in 1606. I would set it then because it seems that Macbeth was first performed in 1606 to King James in Hampton Court. In my production there would be few props, I feel anything that distracts the audiences attention from the actors should be avoided. I would have only a few random rocks and dead animal corpses to bring out the disturbance in the natural order. Each line will be recited clearly, and each line will run in to the next, so to create a long flow of evil rhymes. Witches were taken very seriously in Shakespeare's time. They were recognized by everybody of every different division, from the privileged to the pitiable. Reginald Scot wrote a rationalism book about witches in Shakespeare's time, James I was so shocked and disgraced by this frank book that challenged his own beliefs that he ordered the book to be burned. In this play Shakespeare aimed to please king James, which is another reason for the witches. Shakespeare was very careful with his 'weird sisters', so not to fail the Elizabethan beliefs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through the power of Shakespeare's poetry the witches use many noteworthy words. From the beginning, the witches use words with double and hidden meanings. "When the hurly-burly's done." The words "hurly burly" foresees the frightful actions to come. The word means uncertain, bewilderment and confusion, not unlike the chaos in Macbeth's mind later in the play. In act 1 scene 3 the witches sit and scorn about a sailor's wife, "Sleep shall neither night nor day." This is a prediction of what will happen soon to Lady Macbeth, she will be deep in turmoil. "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." This quote is contradictory and also has a double meaning. The witches are please to see Macbeth and start their evil indications, but for Macbeth the day will not be fine because due to the witches he will meet his doom. So for the witches the day is fair but in the long run it will be foul for Macbeth. As the witches hail Macbeth in act 1 scene 3 Banquo begins to enquire about why they speak not of him, they vaguely answer him. "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater." This is like a riddle, he will be lesser than King himself but his children will be kings. Shakespeare creates the rhymes, which sound so frightful; they are a vital vehicle to show us the true effect of his poetic licence. Francesca Abbott S4X ...read more.

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