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

How effective is act one of ‘Macbeth’ in engaging and maintaining the audience interest?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sarah Doyle Macbeth How effective is act one of 'Macbeth' in engaging and maintaining the audience interest? In Shakespearean times, theatre and plays were extremely popular forms of entertainment as they were, for many, the only real social events visited. In fact, they were one of the only forms of entertainment available to the masses. 'Macbeth' was particularly entertaining to a Shakespearean audience because of the historical and social context of the play. It is apparently about the Scottish ancestor of King James, who was called Banquo, Macbeth's closest friend and fellow soldier. It was a sincere form of political flattery to the king as Banquo is portrayed as the hero, the one who does not give in to evil. Also, the inclusion of witches would fascinate audiences of the time, as they were extremely interested in witchcraft. Even today, their incorporation provides sustainable excitement for the audience, as they are so unusual. Combined, the performance about witches, battle, murderous plots and political flattery leads to an explosively stimulating and enticing play, of which act one provides an effective opening. The opening scene is immediately engaging. It is set in a 'Desolate Place' and there is thunder and lightening. This gives a sense of danger and unease and the audience wonder what is going to happen. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth has now fallen victim to the witches and has been taken in by their prophecies. 'Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor: The greatest is behind...' They have put the thought into his head that he will be king. He also begins to think of Murdering Duncan in order to achieve this. He says that the '...horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs... My thought, whose murder is yet fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man...' He is shocked even at his own thoughts and the audience can see that the witches have already affected him. The audience is interested to see what Macbeth will do. At this point, no one knows Macbeth's true thoughts, and when Banquo asks what he is thinking about, he tells his first lie. '...My dull brain was wrought With things forgotten...' He says that he is trying to remember something, but we the audience know his true thoughts. Our image of the honourable Macbeth is beginning to crumble. We start scene four with yet another change of setting. We discover that Duncan is quite a weak and gullible king, who is much too credulous. When talking about the Thane of Cawdor (Who had been plotting against him) ...read more.

Conclusion

Macbeth's response is: 'If we should fail?' At this point we know that she has won. She reassures her husband by telling him the details of her plan. The weak husband and strong dominant wife are very entertaining to watch. This final scene sets the audience up ready for murder and brings tension and suspense to a high point. At this point they are enthralled in the play, wanting to know what will happen next. I find the opening act very entertaining throughout, and feel that it is extremely effective as a beginning to the play. There are a number of ways in which Shakespeare ensures that his audience is still interested. One of which is the quick setting changes. He also has the almost reversed masculine and feminine roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, which is very entertaining. The theme of the play is constantly echoed. There are constant mentions of 'fair is foul, and foul is fair' right through to the end of the act. This is the most interesting factor of the play, as we see that people are not who we expect them to be. The final rhyming couplet of the act re-iterates the theme, thus proving what we suspect about Macbeth's character and preparing us for murder. 'Away, and mock the time with fairest show, False face must hide what the false heart doth know.' ...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. Should an audience just dismiss Macbeth as a ‘Butcher’ or is there more in ...

    This spectacle would have gripped their attention and would have made them take notice of Macbeth's meeting with the witches. Another thing that helps the audience make the link between Macbeth and evil, is made by his first words of the scene which echo those of the witches' last in scene 1.

  2. 'Macbeth' gives us a classic example of the literary definition of a 'tragic hero'. ...

    Although he believes he can work alone, once she is dead it is inevitable that surely he must die too. Much of the play shows events turning full-circle and so because she fell from being a strong character and he now appears to be the strong one, he too must be expected to fall.

  1. How Does the First Act of 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare Form an Effective Opening ...

    Other powers, such as seeing the future, are also apparent in this scene. "When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won." This could either mean that the witches can see in to the future to know when the battle will end or they can control who will win the battle.

  2. What do you find most dramatically effective and interesting about the supernatural in 'Macbeth' ...

    paradoxes and confusion starting with their first statement that "Fair is foul and foul is fair" which Macbeth then says something similar, this leaves the audience to wonder whether the witches can just predict the future or alter the course of the future.

  1. Macbeth Act One

    They ensure that 'he shall live a man forbid'. However, Macbeth can be destroyed because the forces of veil are present within him. He alone causes chaos in the world by destroying the natural order when he deliberately choose the path of evil. The ship is a metaphor for the state of Scotland which is going to 'tempest toss'd' when Macbeth becomes king.

  2. With Close Reference To Act 2 Scene II of ‘Macbeth’ Explore How Shakespeare Creates ...

    Lady Macbeth has told the audience she is feeling very excited and bold because she has drunk some wine, and they are then wondering what she is going to do because she is feeling bold. This results in a high feeling of anticipation.

  1. The Significance of the Witches in ‘Macbeth’

    This is showing the audience the power they have over everything. After this we are shown one of the witches weaknesses, their blindness. The audience are shown this because the witches can't see Macbeth coming, they hear him. Also just before Macbeth meets the witches for the first time the

  2. Who Is Most To Blame For The Act Of Regicide In ‘Macbeth’?

    Go pronounce his present death And with his former title greet Macbeth." Both Macbeth and Banquo are somewhat taken aback when the 'weird sisters' "hail Macbeth, that shall be king hereafter". Macbeth we know is both surprised and scared as Banquo notices that his appearance has changed as he states:

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