Essay, Research Paper
Act One of The Tragedy of Macbeth
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, takes place in medieval Scotland during the rise and fall of the warrior Macbeth. However, the play is given a feel of menacing evil through the images displayed in scenes one and six of act one. The witches appear in scene one with the sound of thunder and lightning, giving the scene a sense of mischief. The mood is reinforced in scene six through the description of Macbeth?s castle as a paradise in contrast with the evil desires that fill the inside.
The story begins with three witches who call themselves ?weird sisters?. In Old English the word weird means fate, which is exactly their purpose in the story; to predict the fate of Macbeth in scene three. In scene two, Macbeth is introduced as a warrior hero. Macbeth?s strength is brought to light by the captain?s description of Macbeth?s actions in battle. Macbeth not only killed Macdonald but did so by ?unseeming him from the nave to the chops and fixing his head upon their battlements?(line 22-23). The captain also compares Macbeth and fellow warrior Banquo to ?eagles? and ?lions? because they are not afraid of the Norwegians. Also, in scene two Duncan is shown to be full of grace and graciousness during his speech on the battlefield and in greeting Lady Macbeth later on in scene six. In her opening scene, Lady Macbeth is alone, which leaves the audience to her innermost thoughts. Her desire to be queen is brought out and this ambition leads to her plotting the death of the king. She calls upon the ?spirits that tend to moral thoughts? to take away her ability to care and weep. At the end of act one, Macbeth begins to have second thoughts about the murder of the king and his wife questions his courage. However, Lady Macbeth states that she must ?look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it? and in public acts as a loving hostess luring the king into her castle.
The events of story begin with King Duncan and his fight against his own rebellious kinsmen and the Norwegians. In scene two, King Duncan receives word of Macbeth killing the tyrant Macdonald, Macbeth?s help in defeating the Norwegians, and the Thane of Cawdor siding with the enemy. Duncan then calls for the execution of the Thane of Cawdor and the passing of his title to Macbeth. Scene three opens with the three witches who hold three predictions. The sisters inform Macbeth that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then king. To Banquo, the sisters predict that one of his sons will one day rule Scotland. Shortly after the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth is told that he is to become Thane of Cawdor and the first prediction has come true. However, to Macbeth?s surprise, Duncan announces that his successor will be his son Malcolm. Scene five opens with Lady Macbeth reading a letter from her husband. The letter informs her of his meeting with the witches and the visit of Duncan to their castle. Hearing this, Lady Macbeth makes up her mind to kill the king and take fate into her own hands so that her husband may be crowned sooner. Later, when Macbeth arrives, she tells him of her plans. However, towards the end of act one, Macbeth starts to have second thoughts about the murder of the king once he starts to think about judgment on earth and in heaven. However, his wife convinces Macbeth to carry out the plan by talking of his weakness and the effectiveness of her plan.
The Tragedy of Macbeth, William Shakespeare