How Does Shakespeare Establish the Character of Macbeth?

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In the first scenes of Macbeth, Shakespeare arouses our interest in Macbeth by contrasting the ideas of good and evil involving his character. In the first scene, we are introduced to three witches who foresee what is about to happen ‘when the battle’s lost, and won”. To add to their image and idea of magic, Shakespeare uses rhyme for their dialogue, to create a spell like rhythm and sound. Shakespeare then introduces us to the character Macbeth for the first time, when the witches mention his name. This again arouses our interest in Macbeth, as we begin to assume he is associated with the witches and therefore; with evil. However, in the next scene we see a huge contrast as Macbeth is mentioned and commended as a brave hero, by the King himself. The audience is now left with two contradicting and conflicting sides of Macbeth, before even meeting him and are left undecided. This then allows us to form our own impression on Macbeth in the following scene where we are properly introduced to him. Macbeth’s first lines in the play “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” Immediately creates a connection with the witches as it echoes their words in scene one “fair is foul and foul is fair”. It also presents the idea which is constant throughout the entire play, that there is no clear distinction between good and evil, and appearances are deceiving. Although we see Macbeth reject the prophecies which the witches make, Shakespeare’s inclusion of Macbeth’s aside reveals to us Macbeth’s true inner thoughts, and again adds to the theme that appearances are deceiving. Shakespeare also reveals to us that although Macbeth is conflicted with his conscience, he is ambitious for power but shelves this problem by saying “If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me/Without my stir.”
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