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Act 1 Scene 1 of Macbeth plays a significant role in the play as Shakespeare uses this opening act in order to present a number of key underlying themes such as the supernatural and murder

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Introduction

´╗┐MACBETH: Act 1, Scene 1 As the infamous Thunder and lightning crash down upon the Earth, Three mysterious old women, (the witches), emerge out of the darkness. In eerie, chanting tones, they make plans to assemble once again upon the heath, after the battle, to confront the Scottish nobleman Macbeth. Act 1 Scene 1 of Macbeth plays a significant role in the play as Shakespeare uses this opening act in order to present a number of key underlying themes such as the supernatural and murder. It is also used to present the significance of the three witches in the play; their introduction as the first characters shown to the audience, implies the central role they will have in shaping the events of the play and its main character: Macbeth First of all, Shakespeare has introduced the three witches in this opening act so that he could reveal the main role that they will possess throughout this dramatic play. This is apparent in the line ?When shall we three meet again? showing that their next appearance is imminent later on in the play. ...read more.

Middle

Yet one could also say that Shakespeare?s audience would be awfully frightened by these mysterious characters. I say this because people had believed that witches could cause bad weather and storms as shown by the extract ?when shall we three meet again, in thunder lightning or in rain?? This extract shows that the three witches can control the weather by using their supernatural powers. Their abilities such as the one I listed had terrified people, because who other than God can control the weather. Secondly, Shakespeare had made the three witches speak in an interesting manner for many reasons. One being that he wanted to make the audience know that these characters are different and unusual. Shakespeare uses ambiguities in this first act to show that the witches aren?t ordinary beings. I say this because of the line, ? Fair is foul and fouls is fair? as we know from the very start of this scene the witches are currently in the middle of the storm (which they had conjured up) and so perhaps they are saying that it is good (fair). ...read more.

Conclusion

Followed by that line is, ?hover through the fog and filthy air?, this quotation is used to symbolize the confusion and inability to see clearly because the fog can play tricks on your mind and vision. And so this line is used to reinforce the confusion felt by the audience. When Shakespeare had written this first act he might have considered the beliefs held by his audience at the time. For example in Victorian times people believed that Witches had diabolical powers; that they could predict the future, fly, cause fogs and tempest. They cursed enemies with fatal wasting diseases, induced nightmares and could possess any individual they chose. It was believed that witches allowed the devil to suck their blood in exchange for a ?familiar: a bird, reptile or beast as an evil servant. They could also cause bad weather and storms affecting ships at sea and spoiling crops. In conclusion, I believe that Shakespeare has successfully created a feeling of suspense, tension and of confusion within this first act. He has done so through the use of the three witches, imagery and language for a very effective outcome. ...read more.

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