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Macbeth, The Importance of Act 1

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Macbeth, Importance of Act 1 William Shakespeare, famous English playwright, often started his plays with powerful scenes and mood-setting action. Act 1 of Macbeth, is no acceptation to the traditional important and exciting Shakespeare introductions. This act displays the deceptive environment in which Macbeth lives (which is a major theme in this play), depicts the characters' personalities and motives, and finally portrays the constant struggle between good and evil. The first act of Macbeth is important as it draws interest to the play by revealing the forces of good and evil and a deceptive environment within society. By opening the play in this manner, Shakespeare entices his audience to maintain interest in the whole play as the outcome (Macbeth's fate) is not clear. Macbeth's world is a place where the good is bad and the bad is good. From the very first scene, the deception within Macbeth's world is clearly defined. When the witches say "fair is foul and foul is fair" (1.1.11) in scene one, the play's theme is quickly introduced to the audience. The quick introduction of the deceptive world gives the audience excitement as they are left in suspense. ...read more.


When Lady Macbeth greets the king in scene 6, she seems to be a good hostess and housewife. Soon after, Lady Macbeth' asks evil spirits to "tend on moral thoughts, [and] unsex," (1.5.48) her. Lady Macbeth's manipulative and constantly changing character is of interest in act one, because she appears to be the central figure in determining the fate of king Duncan. Duncan, the king throughout act 1, is one of the only characters who does not change. He is not deceiving but he makes the Act interesting as he compromises Macbeth's fate and future, adding major complications. When Duncan appoints his son as "The Prince of Cumberland" (1.4.45) he creates difficulty for Macbeth in his ambition to become king. These problems make the plot more interesting (Duncan stands in the way of Macbeth's happiness). Macbeth now faces the decision of killing the king (and controlling his own destiny) or to let fate (the witches prophesy) crown Macbeth as king. The audience can identify with the various characters met in act 1. Frequently, people can draw similarities between their ambition and the ambition of the characters in the play to become powerful, respected and rich. ...read more.


This method of using contrary forces serves to bring the audience's mind into the story and therefore creates intense interest in the play's outcome. In conclusion, act one of Macbeth is important for a number of reasons. First, the playwright displays the deceptive environment, in which Macbeth lives. Secondly, the characters' personalities, motives and ambitions are depicted, and finally, the constant struggle between good and evil is defined. Interest in the play is created by the playwright's emphasis on forces of good and evil and deceptive society outlined in act 1. During act 1, much is learnt about the characters of the play of which two important traits are present. Ambition plays a key role as it drives many of the characters to their fate. William Shakespeare portrays ambition to be an evil force as it can make people react negatively (Macbeth's plan to kill Duncan). Deception is another trait present in the Act. Shakespeare shows the audience that in life things are not always as they appear (friends can turn out to be enemies). The audience is also reminded that humanity has to deal with forces of good and evil (mentally and physically) in everyday life. ...read more.

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