Read Act 1 Of Macbeth And Write

Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the play in 1606. It

was written to entertain the king (James 1st) and his brother in law

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the Christian king of Demark. The first act introduces the important themes of

treason, deceit and witchcraft which the whole play revolves around. This is

portrayed through the dramatic setting of a lonely and remote wasteland where

Macbeth and Banquo come across the three witches. As Macbeth approaches the

witches are dancing to the beet of his drum, adding to the mythical magic that

is created by their presents. Macbeth portrays a loyal, courageous and

admirable captain of the king?s army at the beginning of the play. He is

praised by all levels of authority; ?O? valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!”

from the king, “For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name” from a

sergeant, and “?Bellona’s bridegroom” from Ross to suggest that

Macbeth is worthy of marrying a goddess of war. His courage and bravery is shown

by the fact that he has won two battles for his king, one in the west and one

in the east. He is rewarded for his efforts with the title Thane of Cawdor. But

as the act continues, he changes for the worse. This change is caused by three

main factors- the witches predictions that he will eventually become

king, this plants the first seed of treason in Macbeth?s mind. Lady

Macbeth?s ambition to be queen, which in turn increases his own ambition

to be king. At this period in time plays and

real life happenings that involved treason against the king such as Guy Falks

and the Gun Powder Plot caught the interest of the general public because it

was such a frowned upon and dangerously exciting subject.? It is on the moor, a life less and sterile

place that Macbeth meets the witches whilst en route with Banquo towards the

Kings camp at forres.? There is thunder

and lightning which attracts the audience’s attention and present destructive

forces, often symbolic of the super natural and the unknown.? This is the point at which the three witches

enter. This could be said to be a copy of a biblical situation where important

characters are often grouped into threes E.g. the three wise men. Shakespeare

may have created to some sort of unholy threesome to emphasise the wickedness

of the witches by presenting this in contrast with the traditional good

characters. The theme of witchcraft would of

interest to the audience because it was a very big issue at the time, as many

women had been hung in suspicion of unholy practice. The witches in this play

an important role because they are the ones who place the initial seed of

treason into Macbeth?s head.? The

witches main purpose in this scene is to cause doubt over Macbeth’s original

loyal dedication to his king. The witches can be identified as evil by the

things they say; “I come, Graymalkin”, “Paddock calls”, and

these are all contemporary stereotypical ‘unholy’ creatures. However the most

obvious indication that these three beings are in fact witches comes where they

chant togetherAll

The witches chat together-

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair:

Hover through the fog and filthy air.” This verse is hypocritical of itself, as

everything that has beauty is foul and everything that is foul has beauty are

opposites. It is also said in trochaic rhythm and there is alliteration on the F’s this all results

in the verse having a negative feel. The word hover in the sentence could be a

subtle reminder of the powers the witches possess. The first line Macbeth says in the same

scene is an echo of the witches chant. He is curious of them which is similar

to Banquo?s first reaction as Banquo is puzzled and then asks them questions,

mainly about there appearance and there gender. Finally, he orders them to

speak: -First


“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!” Second Witch

“All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!” Third Witch

“All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter”Macbeth is startled by the witch?s

prophecies. His reaction can only mean one of two things: one he had never

thought of his ambition before and now he realises what he can accomplish; two

he had already contemplated the idea of being king and the prophecy has

intrigued him further. After the audience has heard the

prophecies I believe they would be horrified, but exited to see the outcome.Early on in act one Macbeth has thoughts

of treason however the audience is introduced to this theme in a different way

through the actions of the Thane of Cawdor who attempted to murder the king.

This would interest the audience as it has also been tried before and failed in

real life E.g. Guy Falks.Within this play, Shakespeare uses

dramatic irony when Duncan is talking about the thane of Cawdor. Duncan ?He was a gentleman on whom I built an

absolute trust?This is said just as Macbeth who is also

plotting against him walks in. When Macbeth is given the title of Thane

of Cawdor, the audience are given a clue as to what is going to happen in future

acts because his predecessor committed treason against the king.Lady Macbeth introduces another level of

treachery and deceit, as she is the one who actually plans Duncan?s murder

after she learns that he is coming to stay at their castle. Lady Macbeth ?O never shall sin that morrow see leave

all the rest to me?When she meets king Duncan she is very

deceptive so as to not let him find out about her plans.Throughout act one the notion that you

cannot trust outward appearances echoes through the language. ?E.g. Lady

Macbeth to Macbeth- just

before the king arrives. ?Look like

thi? innocent flower but be the serpents under?t?Macbeth ?False face

must hide what the false heart doth know?On conclusion I find that Macbeth was not

entirely to blame for slaying his king, Duncan. The witches provided him with

the initial idea of becoming king which in turn invoked him, combined with his

persuasive and greedy wife. Shakespeare brilliantly conveys the Themes of

deceit, treason and witchcraft through settings and the movements of




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