Essay on Macbeth: Macbeth and Duncan Greets Macbeth

Submitted By JulieTait1
Words: 1652
Pages: 7

William Shakespeare wrote the play “Macbeth” in approximately 1606 when King James I (King James VI of Scotland) was on the throne. It was widely known that King James had a fascination with witchcraft and the people at the time had a strong belief in witchcraft and the supernatural and were very fearful of it and most of the bad that happened was blamed on witchcraft. The people of the Jacobean period were very religious people and they believed that the King was chosen by God and to murder the king would bring disorder to the world. Macbeth was written the year after the gunpowder plot so it would have had a big impact on the way the Jacobean people would have thought of someone wanting to kill the king and is written as a kind of warning to any other possible regicides of the dreadful fate that could potentially hit them.
Scene one opens with the witches meeting. The scene is set during a thunderstorm. This is dramatically effective as the thunder and lightning are a foreshadow letting the audience know that there is something bad on the way. Many of the audience in the Jacobean times would have believed that the witches could have started the lightening themselves which would have made them scared and anxious about what the witches were capable of. The witches speak in short rhyming verse that imitates the casting of a spell. We learn that the witches want to meet with Macbeth on a heath when the battle is over. This would cause the audience to be curious as to what the witches want with Macbeth and they may also fear for him as the scene setting would make them think that there is something bad about to happen.
In scene 2 we see Macbeth described as a noble and respectable man. He is presented as having fought valiantly for the king and being a loyal subject. "brave Macbeth -- well he deserves that name.” (1.2. 16). This starts the audience thinking of Macbeth as a brave man who fights with dignity. The audience also learns from this scene that the original Thane of Cawdor has been a traitor to King Duncan so he orders the Thane to be executed and gives the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth.” (1.2. 63 – 67). This is said using rhyming couplet and would have made the audience remember what was said. This would have made the audience feel more warmth for Macbeth as he is admired by the king. The audience may also feel worried for Macbeth and Duncan as they know that Macbeth is being given the title that has been taken from a traitor and it may make Macbeth turn into a traitor too.
In scene 3 we once again meet the witches. The audience starts to find out more about what they are capable of. “I will drain him dry as hay: […] Yet it shall be tempest-tost.” (1.3. 13-24). Macbeth then arrives. The first line that Macbeth says is “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (1.3. 36). This would get the audience wondering if Macbeth and the witches were connected in some way as in Scene 1 the witches ended the scene by saying those same words “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1.1. 12). The witches then give Macbeth the prophecies. The audience already knows that Macbeth has been given the title of Thane of Cawdor from King Duncan for his bravery so these prophecies may cause the audience to start to worry for Macbeth as they may begin to fear what the witches have planned for him and that Macbeth may start to believe what they are telling him. Macbeth demands that the witches tell him more and wants to know how he will become Thane of Cawdor and then King but the witches vanish “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more: […] Stands not within the prospect of belief.” (1.3. 68 – 76). This may make the audience wonder what Macbeth is thinking about as they already know that Macbeth fought and won a battle with the previous Thane of Cawdor. Ross and Angus then arrive and tell Macbeth that he is