MACBETH..Act !, Scene 1 and 2.
About the Play: In 1606, William Shakespeare wrote a play, Macbeth, which has gone down in history as one of the best tragedies ever written. It is known to be the shortest and bloodiest tragedies of Shakespeare. The simplest way of explaining the plot would be to say that it is a story of a man urged by his wife, and foretold by prophesy, to commit murder in order to gain power….a plan which fails, with tragic consequences. But more specifically, it is a classic tale of the down fall of a tragic hero, due to a flaw in his nature, that of overwhelming ambition. Historical Context of the Play: It is believed that Macbeth was written for King James VI of Scotland. Shakespeare’s drama company enjoyed special patronage from King James and was often called The King;s Men. By writing Macbeth, Shakespeare has paid tribute to his king’s Scottish ancestry. One of King James’s greatest passions was the study of witch craft. In 1597 he wrote Daemonologie….an important book, where he said that witch craft is something that really exists and those who practice it should be punished. Significance of Act 1, scene 1: As in most plays, the opening scene is crucial to the play, Macbeth. The Supernatural Element is a dominant feature in many of Shakespeare’s plays. Visions, hallucinations, ghosts, witches and violations in the natural order reflect corruption in the moral and political order. The setting itself is significant. 3 witches, or Weird Sisters, appear in a barren land called the heath, amidst abnormal weather conditions, thunder and lightning. Just like their appearance, ugly and repulsive, their dialog is full of strange utterances….foreshadowing what is to come, and building up a dramatic tension. They say that they will meet ‘when the hurly burly is done/when the battle’s lost and won’ Their words , together with thunder and lightning, builds a kind of eeriness and mystery to the scene, heightening the sense of darkness…darkness...
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