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How successful is Act I of 'Macbeth' in capturing the attention of the audience and creating interest in the play? What methods are used by Shakespeare to achieve this?

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Introduction

How successful is Act I of 'Macbeth' in capturing the attention of the audience and creating interest in the play? What methods are used by Shakespeare to achieve this? There are various methods used throughout the first Act by Shakespeare to capture the attention of the audience. One of the main aspects of doing this is to create dramatic tension, which is theme continued through the rest of the play. 'Macbeth' is set in Scotland and deals with Macbeth's rise to the throne and the drastic measures he took to achieve it. The first scene of the play involves the witches. It consists of some of the many supernatural undertones, and is intended to create mystery and fright to the audience. This is achieved by the sheer content of the script, as when 'Macbeth' was written, witches were feared, but were also of deep intrigue to the people of the Tudor and Stuart era. Witches were associated with evil and lies and so featuring them in the first scene will indicate the issues raised during the rest of the play. ...read more.

Middle

When Macbeth is finally told of his new position, he now believes that the witches' prophecies are true and is surprised, unlike the audience who can laugh at this. Because Macbeth believes this first prediction, he then thinks that others could be true also and then dwells over it. He conveys his thoughts over a soliloquy towards the audience and talks about regicide. This would create tension for the audience because anyone that even contemplated regicide would be deemed as a sinner. This is because the king was thought as chosen by God, and so was holy, and bad things would happen to those who touch the king. The play was written for king James I who was interested in witchcraft and had written a book called "Demonology". This play helps capture his attention and probably the audience too because of the king's influence to get them interested in witchcraft. In this scenes the witches have created fear for the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

They then invite Duncan to their castle the next night and Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth to leave it all up to her. In the next scene we see that Lady Macbeth is being a faithful housewife and puts on a front to invite Duncan into their home. The audience still know that she is now helping plot the murder with Macbeth. In scene seven we see that Macbeth is becoming worried about the moral aspect of the murder, and how that it has become real life instead of a prophecy now. He describes that he is not worried about what will happen in his afterlife because of this, but what will happen if he was caught in his earthly life and what would happen to him then. All of this builds up to Macbeth having a big worry about failure and trying to think of motives for killing the king. And he then realises that his thoughts have been taken too far. So it can be seen that Shakespeare was successful in creating a play that captured the imagination and attention of his audience. ...read more.

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