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

What is the dramatic impact of Act 1 scenes 1 and 3 of Macbeth, and how do these scenes relate to the play as a whole?

Extracts from this document...


14th August 2000 What is the dramatic impact of Act 1 scenes 1 and 3 of Macbeth, and how do these scenes relate to the play as a whole. In this essay I will be looking at two scenes from the play Macbeth, the two scenes act one scene one and act one scene three both include the three witches. In the first scene the witches talk about Macbeth and in scene three they meet him, this links Macbeth with the witches and gives the plays audience the impression that Macbeth must be evil. The two scenes I am looking at are very dramatic and the audience find them appealing because of their beliefs in witches and the supernatural. These beliefs change greatly between the time when the play was written (sometime between 1603 and 1606) and the present day. In Shakespear's time people believed witches were people who had supernatural powers, they were considered evil and servants to Satan. Witches were outcasts of society and were connected with open desolate spaces. Witches were traditionally women and wore black clothes. In the sixteenth century being a witch was a crime and anyone convicted of being a witch was killed. The king at this time was James I and he strongly opposed witches, he wrote a book called "demonology" in 1597. One reason for him disliking witches was the fact that the witches of Berwick brewed up a storm and nearly shipwrecked his boat in an attempt to kill him. ...read more.


He can report" this line is an iambic pentameter, which is shown by the alternate stretched and un-stretched syllables. I think Shakespeare uses this contrast between the witches and the other characters to show they are very different; that the witches are not "human". In this scene the theme is good and evil this is represented by a line said by all three witches: "Fair is foul and foul is fair". This is a symmetrical palindromic line as the witches say good is bad and bad is good, this line also shows the reversal of morality as it reads the same backwards and forwards. This line is then followed by " Hover through fog and filthy air" which represents the witches' evil and shows that they are polluted and corrupted. The two lines together also use alliteration of the letter "f" a literary device which makes it easy to interchange "fair" and "foul". In scene two the audience find out about Macbeth's good reputation as a soldier. They also find out that King Duncan is going to reward Macbeth with the title "Thane of Cawdor" Scene three opens with the three witches up on the moor. They are talking about a greedy woman who would not give one of the witches some of her chestnuts because of this the witch is angry so she decides to cast a spell on the woman's husband who is at sea. ...read more.


When Lady Macbeth hears the witches prophecies her reaction is that Macbeth should do something about is; he shouldn't wait for fate, he should kill King Duncan. A lot of dramatic action is also bought about by the witches' prophecies such as the murder of King Duncan; because if it wasn't for the prophecies Macbeth would never have had a reason to kill Duncan. Other dramatic action bought about by the witches prophecies is the conflict between Macbeth and Banquo there are a few reasons for this the first is that Macbeth is going to be rewarded for fighting in the war and Banquo isn't, another is that Macbeth will become King and Banquo wont, the last reason for conflict between Banquo and Macbeth is that Banquo's sons are going to be kings and not Macbeth's sons. After the witches' prophecies start to come true Macbeth starts to rely upon them. This eventually leads to the downfall of Macbeth as the prophecies make him too confident and he feels invincible which he turns out not to be as all the prophecies come true. In conclusion I would say that the witches are very important to the unfolding drama of the play because without their prophecies none of the events in the play would have seemed possible and without the witches at the start of the play the theme wouldn't be set. The audience's prime interest is in watching the prophecies as they could come true, including the prophecies of the apparitions, which bring about the downfall of Macbeth. Thomasin McAnulty ...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. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    The characters speak almost immediately after each other with no hesitation, in minor sentences, which breaks the iambic pentameter and creates a sense of urgency and tension. In Macbeth, the characters use interrogatives throughout this stycomythic part to reflect the panic of the situation and also convey confusion to the audience~ "when?"

  2. Macbeth: How does Shakespeare dramatise the murder of Duncan in Act II Scenes (i) ...

    Macbeth uses very rich visual images to describe how he disagrees with Lady Macbeth's notion that 'A little water clears us of this deed' (Act 2 Scene 2 Line 70) asking if 'All Neptune's oceans wash this blood clean from my hand?

  1. Analyse and Evaluate the Dramatic Contribution of Lady Macbeth to the play as a ...

    Yet I think that Lady Macbeth is asking to be more masculine because she is scared, not of the actual act of killing someone, but of not having the courage to go through with it. If I were to present this speech, I would make it emotional, tense, upsetting, as

  2. Explore the dramatic impact on a Jacobean audience of Act 1 Scene 5 of ...

    The belief that they could vanish into the air is shown in the line 'they made themselves air, into which they vanished'. The other belief shown is that they could predict the future - 'these we�rd sisters saluted me and referred me to the coming on of time,' The theme

  1. Examine the dramatic impact and significance of the witches in Macbeth

    pilot's thumb" The numbers three, six and nine are mentioned which are typically associated with witches and the devil. When Macbeth enters, they greet him with: "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cowdor!

  2. Illustrate How The Play Develops As A Tragedy And Analyse The Relative Elements In ...

    For instance, when the witches tell Macbeth that he is to be Thane of Cawdor and King, he is confused about how he can be Thane of Cawdor if the Thane is alive. Macbeth's confusion is ended only after Ross tells Macbeth that Duncan has given the death sentence to

  1. How would you direct act 1 scene 3 of Macbeth?

    However I wouldn't want a very young audience, as it is not suitable. However to keep it in theme with the 16th c. ideas I would not be able to update all the language in the play. An example of this would be in act 1 scene 7 where LM

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    Duncan then comments that ?There?s no art to find the mind?s construction in the face?, referring to Cawdor?s betrayal of Duncan?s complete trust in him. The irony of this situation is that Duncan still does not learn his lesson after this, and still continues to trust those around him, eventually being betrayed by the current Thane of Cawdor (Macbeth)

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