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

How does Act One prepare the audience of Macbeth for the remainder of the play?

Extracts from this document...


How does Act One prepare the audience of Macbeth for the remainder of the play? William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play rich in imagery with vivid words and phrases that conjure up emotionally charged mental pictures. The way in which William Shakespeare uses contrasting scenes, especially in Act One only makes these images more vibrant. The many soliloquies in Act One illustrate the ways in which Macbeth's mind is tormented, however, it is also these soliloquies that make the audience feel sympathetic toward Macbeth and therefore make the play more tragic when Macbeth's character flaws. This emotional hold towards the protagonist created in Act One, makes Macbeth one of William Shakespeare's most popular plays not only to modern audiences but also to the 17th century audience. The First Scene prepares the audience for the rest of the play as it shows the witches or the weird sisters in an evil light; this thought is amplified by the use of thunder and lightning. The language that the weird sisters use also readies the audience for the remainder of the play. The weird sisters speak in riddles and prophesise future events. ...read more.


The words also hint that conflict and insecurity exist in his mind even though he has just won a great battle. This gives the audience a view into Macbeth's early thought processes, and this consequently readies them for the reminder of the play. When talking about killing the King, Macbeth uses less brutal euphemisms such as "the deed", "this blow" and "my intent" this infers that Macbeth is not all evil and he wants to think as little about the proposed murder of Duncan as possible. This gives the audience the impression that he is not going to be the main villain in the play and suggest that there will be an external influence that pushes him to carry out the murder, as observed by Aristotle in which he lists the ingredients for a tragedy. However the end of Act One prepares the audience for evil things to originate through Macbeth, as in Scene Seven he struggles with his conscience. Evidently bad things do come through Macbeth in the later Acts, in fact in Act Three he says; "I am in blood stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er..." ...read more.


To back up this point an example of flattery towards the King is when Lady Macbeth repeatedly refers to him as "Your majesty" which reinforces the idea of loyalty towards the King. The use of language by Lady Macbeth gives the audience the impression that she has a mischievous and cunning mind hence setting then up for later Acts. To conclude, at the start of Act One William Shakespeare cleverly misleads the audience into believing that the characters have sound morals, but as the play progresses we see this to be a fa´┐Żade. The plot becomes exiting for the audience as there earlier assumptions are proved incorrect in later acts. Also William Shakespeare's use of juxtaposing scenes, which contrast with each other, often ironically prepares the audience for unexpected and surprising events in the play. The themes of greed, power and conspiracy found in Act One of Macbeth prove to be as relevant for a modern audience as they were for a 17th century one. They have the effect of an audience questioning the limits they would go to, to fulfil there own desires. However by the end of the play these questions should have been answered. ...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. How do the events of Act 1 prepare the audience for what happens in ...

    When Duncan does this, the audience sees Macbeth's ambition in his soliloquy, "that is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'er- leap, For in my way it lies.", therefore the audience is not surprised at how far he would go to be the king of Scotland.

  2. How did Shakespeare appeal to his audience, both in the 17th century, and in ...

    After the witches vanish, Macbeth starts speaking in really short sentences, which make him seem more thoughtful because we don't know what he's thinking in between his sentences. After Ross and Angus have left, Macbeth says a lot to the audience (soliloquies).

  1. Macbeth Act One

    Though he is referred to as a 'worthy gentlemen', there is still the memory that his name is connected with the Witches. 'Brave Macbeth' kills Macdonwald by carving 'out his passage' 'till he unseem'd him from the nave to the chops' 'with his brandish'd steel' that 'smok'd with bloody execution'.

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

    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.

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