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Look closely at Act 1. Explore the effects of the supernatural and how the Elizabethan audience would respond to such evocations of witchcraft. - Macbeth

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Introduction

Look closely at Act 1. Explore the effects of the supernatural and how the Elizabethan audience would respond to such evocations of witchcraft. In the Elizabethan time period, religion played a huge part of societies everyday life, and witchcraft was a major part of the cultures belief, it was thought to be evil, and many people paid the price of death for others accusing them of being witches, so it was a delicate subject for the people of the time. 'Macbeth' focuses around this and uses the people's beliefs to good effect, knowing that they would be drawn to the play and would easily be able to relate back to it, which is what made the tale so popular to begin with. The opening scene sets up an early undercurrent to the whole play, and sets the scene, three witches, gathered around a cauldron, what could be more perfect to play on the minds of the people. ...read more.

Middle

The witches do not say much at all, but the symbolic sense of evil is ever present and looming beneath the play. 'When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or rain?' This is the opening line. It immediately draws the audience and captures their imagination as they begin this journey; the opening with the witches in Macbeth is an excellent choice, because in the Elizabethan era people were fascinated by these supernatural beings. Macbeth's fate is that he will win the battle, but will lose the battle for his soul, he cannot obtain one without the other, and although it has yet to happen, it has already been written. It can be seen already before Macbeth has appeared in the tale, that throughout he will be greatly influenced by the presence of these witches, this creates suspense among the audience. We are also led to believe that not everything is what it seems, and that people cannot be trusted, that 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair', this is ...read more.

Conclusion

In the time of which Shakespeare produced this work, it would never even have been contemplated that a play would portray the countries beloved king being murdered in such a way; Shakespeare has used the audience's imaginations to good effect, which is what makes the play so captivating, the focus of attention around what Elizabethans considered to be evil, witchcraft, being used to commit murder as the people would believe a witch to do. The witch's image is stereotypically what Elizabethans believed them to be, gathered around a cauldron, casting spells, manipulating minds, and just as the witches do, the play manipulates the audience's minds against them. The opening act leads us to believe that all is not what it seems, and that we should look on to find the truth, just as Macbeth must do before he understands what has been clear as day in front of him throughout the play. What we must also understand is that, although the witches show us what Macbeth's fate is, what has already written in his future.....the future can always be changed, 'we must be the change'. Mathew Edwards 11:1 / 11T ...read more.

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