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

In what ways does Shakespeare make the opening scenes of Macbeth dramatic?

Extracts from this document...


Natasha Kappella In what ways does Shakespeare make the opening scenes of "Macbeth" dramatic? The play Macbeth written by William Shakespeare is skilfully structured to engage an audience's interest through effective techniques in the opening scenes. These are the use of setting, characterisation, language and the structure of the play. The setting is cleverly used to create the appropriate atmosphere to the scene and plays on the 17th century expectations and assumptions of weather. The characters introduced in the opening scenes are captivating, Shakespeare's use of rhyme, rhythm, repetition and dialogue help establish this. The play's structure in the scenes and character's dialogue create an engaging and inquiring effect, helping to make the opening scenes of Macbeth captivate the audience's interest. The setting in the opening scenes is crafted to create a dramatic effect through the place its set in and the weather used. In act one, scene one, the stage directions are given as "An open place...Thunder and lightening. Enter three witches." This is quite significant, especially in the 17th century, as in those superstitious times it was believed that storms were representative of and released forces of evil. The audience is already informed that it's a spooky and eerie atmosphere and are then intrigued as to what frightening or supernatural event might follow. A stormy setting is used prior to the witches' entrance in both scene one and three, which acts as an effective prelude to a sinister and immoral mood. ...read more.


In scene three witch 1 is discussing taking revenge on a woman's husband, as she'd not given her chestnuts, "...and munched, and munched, and munched...'Aroint thee witch,'...I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do." The woman tells the witch to get lost, 'aroint', and this angers the witch to take revenge, 'I'll do'. To speak words or phrases in triplets really states how powerful or magical they are as in Shakespeare's time the number 3, and multiples of 3, were regarded as magic numbers. The witches cite triplets and magic numbers a number of times in the opening scenes, "...nine times nine...thrice to thine, and thrice to mine, and thrice again, to make up nine." So in addition to speaking in rhyming couplets and rhythm, Shakespeare uses society's superstition to enhance the witches' dark and forbidden characterisation. In addition to these unusual ways of speaking, the witches are portrayed to be physically unappealing. Banquo's first impression was dismayed and confused, "What are these, so withered, and so wild in their attire..." He describes how unattractive and degraded they appear, "...look not like th' inhabitants o' th' earth...Live you, or are you aught that man may question?" Banquo is suggesting that they look nothing like humans, and is hesitant to ask if they are as he fears they're evil spirits. This really exemplifies the witches' characteristics to be spooky, eerie and devious. This would be more so appealing to an Elizabethan audience as they'd been sheltered and kept away from anything dark and sinful. ...read more.


He continues his obsession, describing how awful his thoughts are. "The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, Which the eye fears when it is done to see." Macbeth's saying 'the eye', any witnesses, should be blind to what he's about to do (in thought) as, if anyone's exposed to what he's done they'll be in fear. Alternatively, Macbeth could be suggesting that his eyes should be blind to what his hands are doing (his actions) as if he let's both his personas clash (his noble side and evil side), he'll regret what he's done. Macbeth's character is so episodic, changing his beliefs and qualities from scene to scene. The language in the dialogue is so varied and interesting through assonance, irony, similes and metaphors, that the audience are immediately absorbed and inquiring. The opening scenes of Macbeth are made dramatic through a series of techniques including setting, structure, characters and language. Shakespeare effectively uses weather and landscape to create and enhance an eerie and immoral mood, mostly prior to the witches' entrance. Intrigue is also stimulated through the play's structure, in both Shakespeare's order of scenes and use of dialogue. Limiting the storyline revealed and purposely organising the order in which characters are introduced develop anticipation and inquisitiveness amongst the audience. Overall the characters and language introduced in the opening scenes are the utmost captivating. Their characterisations are constructed through language compiling of techniques such as similes, assonance, metaphors, rhythm, rhyme and irony. All of these effectively help to make the opening scenes of Macbeth extremely enthralling, interesting and dramatic. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    In what ways does Shakespeare make the Banqueting scene dramatic?

    3 star(s)

    your own degrees"' addressing his guests to '"sit down"' according to rank. At the moment, he is enjoying his position as king; his confidence in his speech suggests this. He knows Banquo will be killed and does not want Banquo alive, because of the prophecies.

  2. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    This may also mirror the heartbeat of Banquo, which is out of rhythm too due to anxiety. The remaining beats are acted out on stage as a four second pause. This pause adds to the dramatic tension; the audience are kept in suspense as they try to guess who the mysterious figure is.

  1. Macbeth Act 2, Scene 1~2, How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    obviously adding to the thought of his possibly deranged state of mind. In this part spoken by Macbeth, there is an extreme repetition of sleep, the word itself is repeated seven times in total. In addition, Shakespeare uses a series of metaphors for sleep, conjuring up the thought that Macbeth

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

    This scene is dramatic and it leads the audience in to scene two as their attention is focused on the play. Scene two begins to introduce Macbeth to the audience. Macbeth does not appear in the scene but he is described to the audience through a conversation.

  1. What use does Shakespeare make of contrast in 'Macbeth'?

    what the audience have known so far: That would make good of bad, and friends of foes. This puts a whole new aspect on this contrast and the response of this would be hope of good entering the play. A good situation emerging from a bad one.

  2. Explore and evaluate Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in Macbeth, supporting your answer with ...

    Shakespeare not only used the witches to grab the attention of James I; he also used them as a way to flatter James, his friends and his relatives. The witches are used to prophesise the succession of Banquo's progeny as King, and help to show Banquo favourably: In the original

  1. How are the matriarchal figures portrayed in 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar ...

    He satirises her character so she is seen to be funny, and so the audience, mainly the upper class in the nineteenth century, will laugh at themselves, and hopefully see that their beliefs are wrong. Lady Bracknell has the most control over her language, being the most powerful in linguistic

  2. Show how Shakespeare uses the witches to create a mood and effect on an ...

    Foreshadowing plays an important role in Macbeth because most of the action of the play is hinted at before it happens. The three witches have a heavy hand in the foreshadowing. Shakespeare ends on a rhyming couplet. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" This is a contradiction to show that Macbeth is about to do an evil deed.

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