• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Dramatic Importance of the Opening of 'Macbeth'.

Extracts from this document...


The Dramatic Importance of the Opening of 'Macbeth' In this essay, I will explore the aspects of the opening of Macbeth that make it a dramatically effective opening. In Elizabethan times, people were very superstitious and when the witches appear, they would be considered to be evil. The immediate appearance of the supernatural would captivate the Elizabethan audience and create interest. In Elizabethan times, the number three was considered to be a magic number so the fact there are three witches, and later three murderers and also three apparitions, creates more supernatural aspects in the play. At the end of scene one, the witches exeunt in a supernatural manner. The three witches 'hover' away, certifying to the audience that these three old women are witches. The atmosphere in the opening of the play was also very important. ...read more.


In the opening scene though, the witches predict that they will meet Macbeth creating immediate interest. Through the juxtapositioning of the two views of the same character, it brings doubt in the audience as to whether Macbeth is as brave, noble, and loyal like the Captain says he is or whether he will be evil and untrustworthy like the witches. Our interest and questioning is maintained when Macbeth and Banquo first meet the witches, Macbeth says 'so fair and foul a day I have not seen', which probably refers to winning the battle and the eerie weather, but there is also the relation to the witches line 'fair is foul, and foul is fair' which I feel gives the audience more information than the characters so creates dramatic irony. Macbeth and Banquo also hear the witches salute Macbeth not only as his title but titles he doesn't possess such as King of Scotland. ...read more.


The introduction of the witches' powering the first scene adds to the dramatic effectiveness of the opening. It is important because the rest of the play revolves around the witches' predictions and whether they come true. In most Shakespearean tragedies, the play revolves around a man climbing to a high status, and then taking a dramatic fall through a fatal character flaw; in Macbeth's case it is ambition and greed. He climbs from a thane or a lord, to king of Scotland by evil, treason, treachery and murder, then is slain by Macduff at the end. The opening to Macbeth is dramatically important, as it is here where we first discover the witches' talent to predict which is what the main plot revolves around. Also an eerie, suspicious and daunting atmosphere is created, and together with the supernatural aspects, the opening is very memorable, and also anticipating as the audience wants to know whether or not the predictions will come true. Ashley Lansiquot page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. Macbeth - Act 4 Scene 1: Discuss the Dramatic Potential in this scene.

    He quotes: 'Seize upon Fife; give to th'edge o'th'sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line.' It can be seen that he is threatening to kill anyone who is in Macduff's castle, even his wife and children.

  2. Macbeth - Do the witches heighten the dramatic impact of the play?

    in act one, scene three all the witches again rhyme by saying "the weird sisters, hand in hand, posters of the sea and land". Both of these examples show the way the witches rhyme in their dialogue. The reason why the witches speak like this is because witches in making

  1. Macbeth Essay

    Macbeth promises he will fight to his death 'At least we'll die with harness on our back.' (Act 5 scene 5) This can restore some feelings of admiration towards Macbeth, he has heard the news of his most loved wife has died and he will still face a army and fight to his death.

  2. Compare and contrast the opening scenes of two or three plays you have studied ...

    This is Macbeth's self-fulfilling prophecy. Because the witches speak true about his position as Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is convinced that he must be king. This drives him to kill Duncan to gain the throne. In this sense, the audience does not know of this yet.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of The Supernatural.

    This seems strange to Macbeth and Banquo because they know that the Thane of Cawdor is still alive and so how could Macbeth become Thane - "The Thane of Cawdor lives, a prosperous gentleman." Banquo is also confused by this- "What are you?"

  2. What is the importance of the opening scene of Macbeth and the two scenes ...

    play to their superstitions and beliefs and gain their respect and support. Shakespeare bestowed his witches with the traditional, customary features that were expected of them. In Act 1 Scene 1, the witches' call to their familiars 'Greymalkin' and 'Paddock' - these were supposed demons that were believed to play a part in their immoral crimes.

  1. 'Macbeth is full of highly dramatic scenes. Choose two scenes and explore how Shakespeare ...

    'A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, ...'give me,' quoth I.' 'Here I have the pilot's thumb, Wrecked as homeward he did come.' This illustrates the very evil and chaos that the witches are striving to create. This tale can also be a metaphor to the chaos that Macbeth

  2. Show the importance, to the play, of the opening scene and the two scenes ...

    Shakespeare's underlying concern is introduced in the fourth line of the play, "When the battles lost and won". It is impossible for the same battle to be both lost and won, it is a contradictory verse. But the witches were not talking about just one battle, they meant that Macbeth

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work