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analysis of Light vs. Darkness in Act 1 of Macbeth

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An analysis of Light vs. Darkness in Act 1 of Macbeth In William Shakespeare's play: Macbeth written in 1606 for James I, the author uses contrasting images between light and darkness to show the dissimilarity of power in the play. The light is a metaphor for goodness, harmony, order, nobleness and often related to King Duncan. In contrast, darkness refers to evil, bad thing and turns the audience to think about Macbeth and his wife. The opening scene of the act 1 sets straight away the mood for the whole play. Indeed, Shakespeare starts his play with the arrival of the three witches under thunder and lightning. These visual effects bring a first nebulous vision of the play for the audience, because it is a dark night. ...read more.


Shakespeare uses light as a metaphor for nobleness and order, which are often related to the king Duncan. In one of king's words; "Which honor must not unaccompanied invest him only/ but signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine /on all deservers", Duncan thanks the two generals and uses the stars as a symbol of nobleness. King Ducan guarantees his throne to his son, as the tradition wants. The light of the starts shines on the new king. Therefore, this brightness can suggest that the order in the world is respected. In most culture, the king is associated with the sun. Consequently, "And you whose places are the nearest"to the sun, reinforces the idea that lights signifies the natural order. Directly in response to Duncan, and to the announcement that Malcolm will become the successor to the throne of Scotland, Macbeth asks the stars not to bright and immediately darkness takes place in his words; "... ...read more.


She wants to cover her thoughts with a pall and let no anyone see it. And she does not want to see it herself. Shakespeare uses darkness to wrap the bad intentions of his characters, especially Macbeth and his wife. The dark mood of the last two quotes is employed to demonstrate to the audience the step of the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth toward evil. Moreover, many of the scenes in the play are set at night (i.e. the dinner with Duncan, the apparition of the witches...) . The first act of Macbeth is important as it brings one of the major theme of the play; the constant struggling of good and evil. In the light of this study, we can see that Shakespeare uses contrast between light and darkness to emphasis this image of opposition between good and bad and sets the atmosphere of the play. Word count: 718 ...read more.

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