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Macbeth Notes Act 1, Scene's I-Iii

In: English and Literature

Submitted By classics
Words 614
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The opening scene is important in establishing a mood or atmosphere for the audience.
The scene is set in an open space, a place removed from the ordinary business of men and the unusual social rules.
The weather is extravagant and hostile.
The ‘fog and filthy air’ suggests unusual darkness and healthiness.
The conversation of the witches isn't how ordinary men speak; the use of rhymes is a feature of the witches’ speech throughout the play, it intensifies a sense of incantation, of magical charms.
‘When the battles lost and won’ and ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’ a paradox is offered. What are opposites for us seem to be interchangeable for the witches.
The details of the opening urges our imagination to sense a confusion of the usual human order, a reverse of human values, a world of darkness and foulness, a sinister challenge to ordinary goodness.
Noble values of goodness and beauty are reversed in the threatening and confusing atmosphere of ‘fog and filthy air’.
They seem to know the outcome of the battle before the battle is over.
The opening creates a worrying vacuum in which evil can flourish.


Shakespeare seems particularly interested in depicting heroic soldiers such as Macbeth whose undoubted valour on the battlefield is tragically no help to them in other kinds of situations.
The military alarum is a contrast to the thunder and lightning of the first scene, the play shifts from the wide world of the witches to the place where the royal authority is demonstrated.
The main focus of this scene is to show Macbeth's virtues and his loyalty to king Duncan, which will contrast to the description of him later on in the play.
The size and importance of the battle amplify the qualities of Macbeth.
The final line of the scene – ‘what he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won’ – reminds us of line 4 in scene…...

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