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

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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.

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