Macbeth Dramatic Analysis Essay, Research Paper
In Act 1 Scene 3 the modern tragic formula is emphasized by the special effects, characters, and props that are used. These three dramatic aspects of the play display the witches as true magical beings that are capable of destroying Macbeth.
In Act 1 Scene 3 the modern tragic formula is highlighted by the special effects that are used. The smoke and fog that arise as the witches first appear portrays them as evil and mysterious creatures. Also, as the witches begin to prepare their magical spells, the setting suddenly changes from a clear and sunny day to a dark cloudy storm full of thunder, lightning, and rain. The booming of the thunder and the smacking of the rain as it hits the ground gives the audience an unbearable sense of fear. This first series of special effects is an outstanding way of making the audience realize that the witches really are magical. During their spell preparation one of the witches vows to punish a sailor because his wife cursed her and refused to give her some chestnuts. As she is doing this, an image of the witch s Graymalkin appears in the sky and a lightning bolt shoots across the image. All of these beginning special effects combine to indicate that the witches are evil, magical, and are only capable of causing bad things to whomever they cast a spell on.
As Macbeth and Banquo return from battle they see the witches and engage in a conversation with them. The witches greet Macbeth with three prophecies. The three prophecies that the witches gave Macbeth gave him triple honors Thane of Glamis , Thane of Cawdor , and that he will become King hereafter . As the witches give each prophecy to Macbeth lightning bolts surround them and their eyes start to glow. These special effects frighten both Macbeth and Banquo because they are unsure as to what magic these witches are performing. They are unsure of this magic because they do not believe that the prophecies could ever come true. They already know that the first prophecy, Thane of Glamis , could be a fake because Macbeth had already been known as Thane of Glamis . However, they are skeptical about the other two prophecies.
They are cynical of the other two prophecies because the Thane of Cawdor that they know is loyal and still alive, and the King is also still loved very much by the people of Scotland. Banquo then asks the witches for prophecies of his own. The witches hail Banquo as lesser than Macbeth, and greater, as not so happy, yet much happier, and tell him thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. These prophecies stupefy Banquo, as once again lightning bolts surround them as they tell the prophecies. Ignorant of the fact that he is already the successor to Cawdor s title, Macbeth then commands the witches to explain the prophecies. However, as soon as Macbeth does this a bright light flashes and when Macbeth is able to see again a loud noise rages through the air. As they look back towards the witches all they can see is a cloud of smoke in the air and a heap of snakes on the ground that are making horrid hissing sounds. This effect and all of the special effects previously described foreshadow that these three magical beings and their prophecies will somehow destroy Macbeth. This is proven because Macbeth becomes King by killing Duncan, which completes his prophecies.
Banquo s prophecies also come true. The first prophecy that hails Banquo as lesser than Macbeth, and greater becomes real life because Banquo will never be as high a rank has Macbeth, but he will always be a greater person because he does not fall into the Devil s trap. The second prophecy that says that Banquo will be not so happy, yet much happier comes true because Banquo becomes unhappy since he dies, but at least he is happy because he did not fall into the witches trap like Macbeth. Macbeth, on the other hand, is not happy with himself. The third and final prophecy that tells him that thou shat get kings, though thou be none which tells that Banquo will never be king himself, but later generations of his family will someday be king. This third prophecy really gives the audience a feel of danger for Macbeth because it specifically says that Macbeth will not be king long enough to give his throne to someone in his own family. These prophecies and their outcomes, along with the special effects that are used to accentuate them in a fearful manner, prove that the modern tragic formula is in effect during this scene. This is proven because at the end of the play Macbeth is destroyed by Macduff because of the witches and their prophecies.
The characters and the props that they use in Act 1 Scene 3 demonstrate that the modern tragic formula is being used. The witches in this scene are portrayed as true magical beings sent out by the Devil. They carry with them a magic broom and many symbols of the Devil. The skull necklaces that they wear show that the witches have been created only to commit acts that will cause evil and destruction. These wicked characters illustrate that they are from an all powerful universe by casting magical spells that will determine the outcome of the play. While casting their magical spells they use many props such as a black pot, a severed hand, a noose, and a dagger. The black pot resembles a pot used to make a stew that is used to create magic. The severed hand, noose, and dagger are used as ingredients to the witches stew. The severed hand resembles Macbeth s hand because it is Macbeth himself that causes all of the destruction. The dagger represents the murder weapon that Macbeth uses in his slayings, and the noose represents how traitors are killed. The noose is an important item because it gives the audience a strong feeling that Macbeth will somehow become a traitor. The prophecies that the witches give to both Macbeth and Banquo ultimately cause doom for both of them. If Macbeth had not received his prophecies then he would not have become insane and killed all of his loyal companions. If Banquo would not have received his prophecies then he would not have been killed by Macbeth s jealousy. Overall, the witch characters verify that they are a part of an all powerful, tragic universe that will destroy Macbeth externally.
In conclusion, Act 1 Scene 3 proves that the modern tragic formula is being used. The witches that represent characters from an all powerful universe, the props that accentuate the outcome of the play, and the special effects that reinforce the fearful idea that Macbeth is struggling ineffectively within, and is destroyed by an all powerful tragic universe.