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

Consider how Act 1 of Macbeth prepares the audience for the rest of the play.

Extracts from this document...


ENGLISH COURSEWORK CLAIRE PLUMPTON MACBETH * Consider how Act 1 of Macbeth prepares the audience for the rest of the play. The opening scene of Macbeth starts with the three witches, chanting, thus creating a supernatural and eerie atmosphere, with "thunder, lightning and rain... fog and filthy air". This prepares us for the sinister atmosphere present throughout the entire play. The witches also cryptically talk about "when the hurly-burly's done", which means "when the deed is done", and "when the battle's lost and won". These are clues as to what will happen later on in the play, things which the audience don't yet know about. The "deed", could be one of many later happenings, such as the witches prophecies to Macbeth, the rise of Macbeth to the throne, the murder of King Duncan, or perhaps the assassination of Banquo, or maybe the slaughter of Macduff's wife and children, or even the eventual execution of Macbeth. The "battle" points towards many future happenings, and themes that run throughout the play, such as the constant fight between good and evil, both in peoples' minds and on the battlefields. ...read more.


This idea of Macbeth being under a spell will make the murderous acts that happen later in the play seem less inhuman, and make the reader perhaps pity Macbeth more. As Macbeth weighs the moral implications of the witches predictions, he is already thinking of bad things, like murder, preparing us for the ruthless killing of king Duncan, and others, to achieve what he desires. But thankfully, at this stage, Macbeths' conscience prevents him from acting on these thoughts. The audience is prepared for the battle between good and evil in Macbeths' mind, as they are already seeing the beginnings of this conflict. Macbeth knows that if the witches prophesies are true then he needn't act upon them, but still cannot get the idea of murder out of his mind, showing the audience the weakness of the good part of his mind, against the evil part, preparing us for the evil within him, winning the battle, against good. Macbeth then lies to Banquo about his thoughts, telling him that, "if chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir". He is actually thinking about all the horrible things that he could do to make himself king, rather than just letting fate take its course, showing the audience his deceptive nature, preparing them for the lies that he later tells. ...read more.


She even refers to their battlements as her own, saying "The...entrance of Duncan under my battlements" In scene seven, Macbeth is soliloquising, struggling with his conscience's guilty thoughts about killing Duncan, and how it will result in vengeance. He thinks of many reasons why he should not do it, but his "vaulting ambition" spurs him on. When Macbeth tells his wife that he does not want to do the "deed", she mocks him, reminding him of how brave a soldier he is meant to be, attacking his manliness, and asking him if he is a coward, or whether his hope has been forgotten, Macbeths' conscience does not fight Lady Macbeths' controlling hold over him, and he accepts that he must do the task. This shows the weakness of Macbeths' good side, and the plague of his guilty conscience, which will be antagonistic in future scenes. Although Lady Macbeth is presented as an evil person, she does have guilty feelings about what they are doing, as does Macbeth. The fact that they are feeling guilty about what they are doing makes it easier for us to sympathise with them at the end of the play. This sympathy is crucial to our sense of the play being a tragedy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Write about how Shakespeare uses dramatic technique and language to create an atmosphere of ...

    3 star(s)

    Lady Macbeth was very greedy and advised Macbeth to do whatever he had to, to get the crown.

  2. How do the events of Act 1 prepare the audience for what happens in ...

    When everybody gets home from the battle, there is a joyous celebration for the victory over Norway. Included in the party, Duncan proclaims his successor to reign after he dies, he proclaims that Malcolm will take over his throne- Macbeth is disappointed to say the least.

  1. What impression do the audience get of Lady Macbeth's Character at the end of ...

    Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth is a soldier and isn't as devious as her, so she advises him of how to act. 'bear welcome on your eye, Your hand, your tongue; look like th' innocent flower, but be the serpent under't' Here she tells him that they are going to

  2. Analyse the Macbeth's marriage during the play, and explain why and how it changed

    It shows that Macbeth is trying to make himself look innocent from the murder, which was about to happen. By saying he has not thought about the Weird Sisters Banquo then should not think Macbeth killed Duncan to become king.

  1. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    The first sinister reference to blood is one of honor, showed in Act I scene ii. This occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says: "What bloody man is that?". This is symbolic of the brave fighter who has been injured in a valiant battle for his country.

  2. Macbeth - How do the events of Act 1 prepare the audience for what ...

    descendants will become king. These predictions for consequences later in the play as the supernatural events in Act 1 are the first in the series, therefore preparing the audience for later incidents, for instance in Act 4 when the witches start concocting spells.

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