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Does Act 1 prepare the reader for the rest of the play?

Uploaded by shiv on Feb 16, 2002

Write about the dramatic effectiveness of act 1 and how it prepares the reader for what is to come.



Macbeth is a tragedy written by the playwright William Shakespeare in the year 1606.

The story tells of a young man called Macbeth who is given three prophecies by three witches and kills the king in an attempt to make them come true. The moral to the story was that in the end Macbeth went crazy and died painfully therefore showing that people who tried to kill the king would suffer.

The time that this play was written is important for two reasons. The first is that at the time when it was first performed people would have believed strongly in witchcraft and evil. To them it seemed extremely realistic and frightening and therefore the whole play would have had more of an effect on audiences then than modern day viewers whose beliefs are different.

The second reason is that James 1 was king at this time and just one year before an attempt on his life had been made in the form of the well known Gunpowder Plot. The play helped dissuade anyone from trying to defy the divine right of the king and so helped keep him safe while royals and nobles regarded Shakespeare better for the plot.

The very first scene of the play is that of three witches standing in a desolate area chanting and cursing in stormy weather. Straight away the audience has been given a very dramatic picture and has seen the very first of the evil in the play. The weather creates an uneasy atmosphere showing that evil is present and also signifies rebellion in the kingdom. As the witches are talking in riddles and rhymes Macbeths name is mentioned. This suggests that Macbeth is cursed right from the very beginning as he has already been associated with the evil of the witches. Because the audience would have known this they can tell that the rest of the play will be based around sinister and evil goings on and Macbeth is going to be in the middle of it all.

In scene two the audience are given an idea of what Macbeth was like before the witches interfered. Here he is described as a leader, loyal to the king and brave.

This shows that before meeting the witches Macbeth was a good honest man and therefore all his actions form here...

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Uploaded by:   shiv

Date:   02/16/2002

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   6 pages (1,436 words)

Views:   898

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