Macbeth is a thrilling tragedy based on a mans lack of control over greed. A play that shows his downfall from being a noble lord who was in a close circle with the king, to losing all his morals. This escalated into his death. Its set in Scotland as it is somewhat known to be a nation of things such as blood feuds. Macbeth is a play associated with the supernatural. It is a theme throughout the play because it has reoccurrences from beginning to end. Examples of this would be the three witches. They appear right at the start where Macbeth is first mentioned. They have visions and further on tell Macbeth he will become thane of Cawdor and then king. This triggers off his arrogance. They then reappear to tell him that he will not die from anything human. The audience are repeatedly getting reminded that the play has a supernatural theme to it. A flying dagger also appears along with all of Macbeths strange hallucinations. Macbeth was written during the Elizabethan era. At that period of time the society had a very strong belief that witches and witchcraft was in existence. People would blame unexplainable events on witchcraft. These things would often include when people died from terrible diseases, an animals death, bad harvesting, and houses burnt down in fires. They didnâ€™t have any knowledge on what was really happening so witches were an easy target to use. There were 270 witch trials during the Elizabethan times. 247 of those people were all women and only a mere 23 were men and I think this is mainly because men were known as being â€˜all powerfulâ€™. The people that were normally accused for being witches were the old, the unprotected, the poor and single women or widows. Elizabethan women relied on the male members of their family. They didnâ€™t have many rights and for that reason they were belittled by men and expected to obey them. The number of poorer people was increasing and old, poor and unprotected women needed to have some kind of support. Access to doctors and medicines was minimal. Women were expected to produce cures. â€˜Wise womenâ€™ used herbs. The use of herbs and plants such as mandrake, datura, monkshood, cannabis, belladonna, henbane and hemlock were common ingredients in brews and ointments for medical purposes. As the fear of witches and witchcraft increased anyone with knowledge of herbs were thought to be having a pact with the devil. This would be resulted in execution. In act one scene one a dramatic atmosphere is automatically created. As Macbeth is a play, when the audience is watching this, the setting will set the mood to the scene. Itâ€™s set on a moor. This is telling us that itâ€™s in a very quite, almost disturbing place as itâ€™s a wasteland area. Thereâ€™s thunder and lightning as the three witches enter. This allows the audience to have suspicions that something mysterious is about to happen. Thunder and lightning are also perceived as ghastly things which are associated with things that are awful or scary. This might set a tense atmosphere because the audience will now expect the witches to be like the thunder and lightning, something that will turn out to become awful or scary. In addition to this because the weather is unusual, its not like rain or clouds that we see near enough every day, it can let us acknowledge that something unusual will be at the entrance of the play. In this scene the witches are planning to meet again once the fighting is over to meet Macbeth. This would have made the Elizabethan audience a lot more frightened than our modern audience would ever be because back in that time there was a strong belief in witchcraft. They could have been alarmed and anxious to find out how the witches can be. But on the other hand they might think of the play as a re-enactment of things that have happened therefore being startled as the witches were a big fear in their lives. This is a peculiar scene because the witches saying things which are not normally supposed to happen. Things such as â€˜when the battles lost and wonâ€™. We know that after a battle is either one or the other when itâ€™s over. So saying that neither will happen makes the audience start to wonder. It gives the audience curiosity as they analyze what the witches words mean. It doesnâ€™t seem to make sense, so why are they saying it is a question that runs through my mind. At the end of this scene the all three witches say a line together. â€˜Fair is foul and foul is fair: hover through the filthy air.â€™ The language the witches use is often rhymes and riddles. This gives me several different interpretations of them. Either they want the audience to guess and attempt to solve the riddles in order to understand what they are talking about. They want us to be involved in the play by thinking of this as a game. Whoever solves the riddles will find their way to the plot the quickest. Or I think the witches are talking to the audience because they want us to wonder but they donâ€™t want us to understand what they are talking about. Exactly like when a parents talks by spelling out words so that a young child does not understand. This is the witchesâ€™ way of communicating by making sure that no-one will understand what they are talking about and we are not like them so we donâ€™t grasp their way of talking. It could also be a way of stating that they are witches in the play. Talking in a different sort of language to us means they are not from the same place as we are. In the Polanski film the witches are represented to be very mysterious creatures. They give off an eerie sense to them, with their old, haggered faces surrounding a human arm buried in the sand. The images alone tell us that the witches are nothing like the majority of the society. They are portrayed to look like outcasts as they appear on the moor when no-one is around to be seen. They look as if theyâ€™ve been washed up from the sea from a whole other world. In Act one Scene two there is a dramatic contrast to the opening scene. In the first scene there is a mysterious and quite a scary theme but in scene two it turns cheerful. The witches are gone and no elements of the supernatural are now presented. It seems like they have skipped a few scenes as it goes from the three witches riddle to then after the battle. There is no information about the battle except from this scene where they are only talking about its past events. The good king Duncan hears the news on how the battle went in this scene. He gets told how heroically Macbeth and Banquo have fought against Macdonwald and his band of rebels; and then against the Norwegians and the Scottish traitor. King Duncan, Sergeant and Ross now views Macbeth as a brave warrior. â€˜For brave Macbeth â€“ well he deserves that nameâ€™ is how the sergeant describes him to be. This shows the respect and appreciation they have for him. They now portray Macbeth to be a noble gentleman and an idol that should be looked up to. At this point in the play the audience will also think highly of Macbeth by his description without even laying eyes on him yet. Whilst the sergeant carries on talking about Macbeth he then says â€˜Which neâ€™er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseamâ€™d him from nave to the chapsâ€™. He was basically saying that Macbeth didnâ€™t give up the battle, he didnâ€™t leave until he had fully destroyed Macdonwald â€˜from nave to the chapsâ€™ meaning from his nose to his jaws. This is showing Macbeths inner strength as well as outer strength by not giving up until he was done. In addition, it is showing their lifestyle and how it was a good thing to be able to fight so savagely. This might make an Elizabethan audience idolize Macbeth. Macbeth is then given the honour of â€˜Thane of Cawdorâ€™ by King Duncan. He earns this by his courageous battle and has therefore made the Norwegian king beg for peace. Scene three is again dramatically different from the first two scenes. The first scene has a purely supernatural theme to it and the second scene has none whatsoever. Then the third scene comes in and this is where the two worlds collide. Supernatural versus normality. The audience find themselves back at the moor again with more thunder as the witches open the scene. This is like a flashback from the first scene. From the witches interactions at the start of the scene we find out that they are not in the least bit kind but instead they are rather malicious. At the start of their conversation after the first witch asks â€˜where hast thou been, sister?â€™ the second witch replied with â€˜killing swineâ€™. This is a simple but effective quote. It tells the audience that the witches stir up trouble. But it also gives them the tension of wanting to know the plans they have got for Macbeth. It is a forceful quote because where the witches are usually talking in riddles; instead she gives a heartless answer with no riddles as we know exactly what killing is. Generally most people would have been a little more shaken up by the thought of killing but not her. Then having no regrets whatsoever because she names the person she has just killed â€˜swineâ€™. Once Macbeth and Banquo enter the scene Macbeths firsts words into the play are â€˜So foul and fair a day I have not seenâ€™. This links him to the witches because right at the end of the first scene all three of the witches recite â€˜fair is foul, and foul is fair: hover through the fog and filthy airâ€™. Macbeth and Banquo describe the witches as â€˜so witherâ€™d and so wild in their attire, that look not like thâ€™ inhabitants oâ€™ the earth, and yet are on â€˜t?â€™. They are describing the witches to be barbarians. He is questioning whether they should be on this world or not. This shows that he instantly knows that they are not entirely human. The appearance of the witches gives the audience a judgement to what their going to be like. The appearance of a character is supposed to be there in a play to show off the characters personality traits in it too. The predictions that are given to Macbeth and Banquo are that Macbeth will be the thane of Cawdor and then the king soon after and that Macbeth and Banquo will both be fathers of kings but they wonâ€™t become them. Banquo questions the witches along with Macbeth shortly after. They are confused as to what had just happened. When they are about to leave Macbeth says â€˜stay you imperfect speakers, tell me moreâ€™. This is telling the audience that Macbeth is anxious to find out where they have gathered this knowledge. They seemed to have been stunned by the news. It is weird that the witches already knew that he was thane of Glamis without anyone telling them so they must have some form of power. In addition, the Elizabethan audience thought that witches could tell the future so they would know that what they are saying is true. Plus, the audience now know that Macbeth has become thane of Cawdor already so the rest of their speech is likely to be true too. Afterwards Ross and Angus enter the scene once the witches have vanished and announce that Macbeth is now the thane of Cawdor. This is a really dramatic point in the play because after the witches telling them that Macbeth will become thane of Cawdor it suddenly happens. However the audience can judge the witches better than what Macbeth can because they know what happened in the previous scene. The audience knows that itâ€™s due to Macbethâ€™s bravery that he has been given the honour of thane of Cawdor. It is dramatic because Macbeth and Banquo now think that its not because of courage it is because of the witches â€˜magicâ€™ that got him there. From these opening scenes of the play it is dropping the audience some clues of what is about to happen. They know that something is going to happen to make Macbeth to become king but then he is going to lose that position. They know that Banquo and Macbethâ€™s sons are going to be kings and they know that king Duncan has to be killed if Macbeth is going to be king. In my opinion the first three scenes of Macbeth are very effective as an opening to the play. It has already showcased the main points of the play with not giving away too much information to make it predictable. It leaves the audience to ask questions to themselves to query what is going to happen next. The theme has been shown in the play by mixing the supernatural and the not. It is also showing how the play is all about power and the hierarchy that Macbeth is climbing up on. Then telling the audience that battles are something thatâ€™s going to occur throughout this play by having the first three scenes based around one. The opening would have been more effective to an Elizabethan audience as opposed to a modern audience. The modern audience would find it a lot harder to understand the language thatâ€™s being used as it has changed from when the play was written. The Elizabethan audience believed in the supernatural so it would have been more intense to watch. The play is based around things that might of happened around the Elizabethan era. They can relate the play more to their real lives. Whereas for a modern day audience, witches are not something that we talk about in our everyday lives so we cannot relate the play to our own experience. This might make the Elizabethan audience understand the play more.
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