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Discuss Shakespeare's dramatic purpose and technique in Act 1 and how these are important to the development of the play.

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Kit Carnell Discuss Shakespeare's dramatic purpose and technique in Act 1 and how these are important to the development of the play. Shakespeare's "Macbeth" is a tragedy that deals with the bloody rise and fall of Macbeth. It is set in 1606. It also focuses on the themes of appearance versus reality, the supernatural, ambition, honour, loyalty and duplicity, fate and destiny and blood. In Act 1 Shakespeare introduces us to the main characters and their strengths and weaknesses. We see Macbeth as an admired and trusted nobleman and warrior, yet perhaps he is over ambitious and too open to suggestion from the witches and manipulation by his wife. Lady Macbeth has a cold, calculating and powerful ambition to make Macbeth King. King Duncan is na�ve and trusting of Macbeth; this will be his downfall. Banquo is a close friend to Macbeth and Duncan. By the end of Act 1 the first of the witches' prophecies has come true, but Macbeth is anxious because Macduff has been chosen as Duncan's successor. Macbeth is struggling with his conscience to decide whether to kill Duncan and the scene is set for murder. ...read more.


This scene also emphasises the theme of the supernatural for example Banquo's description of the witches "what are these so wither'd and wild in their attire". Shakespeare makes us associate the witches with evil by Banquo saying, "what can the devil speak true" when he hears that Macbeth will become thane of Cawdor. Also in this scene there is the idea that things are not what they seem. Banquo fears that Macbeth might take these prophecies and let them betray him. He reveals this when he says " The instrument of darkness tell us truths win us with honest trifles to betray's deepest consequence". Macbeth's "horrible imaginings" leave him in a state of turmoil, where " function is smothered in surmise and nothing is but what is not". When Macbeth finally pulls himself together he talks more openly again "If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir". Macbeth is linked to the witches from his very first line "So Foul And fair a day I have not yet seen" this shows a foreboding evil towards him right from the start. Banquo and Macbeth react very differently to the witches Banquo tries not to let them Manipulate him "betrays in deepest consequence" but Macbeth ...read more.


When Lady Macbeth enters she says "All our service, in every point twice done and then done double, were poor against those honours deep and broad wherewith your majesty loads our house." These words are coming from someone that is planning his murder and creates dramatic tension. Duncan then says, " where's the Thane of Cawdor... and his great love" another example of appearance versus reality. The dramatic purpose of Scene 7 is to create the final build up to the murder of Duncan. It develops the character of Macbeth & Lady Macbeth & their relationship. In the opening soliloquy it becomes clear that Macbeth knows exactly what he is doing. He is clear that what he is planning is wrong: "we'd jump the life to come", this meaning that they could risk the damnation. Macbeth knows that "he's here in double trust...I am his kinsman...his host". This is saying he is trusted to look after Duncan and protect him. He also knows the goodness of Duncan saying, "his virtues plead like angels." The language suggests Duncan's innocence associating him with angels and cherubim. Macbeth knows that this is the worst kind of murder because it is premeditated regicide against an innocent man and he knows that this opens him up to retribution. ...read more.

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