Period 3 AP LIT
September 22, 2014
Structural Analysis and Thematic Interpretation
Macbeth Act 1 pgs. 24-31
A. A short statement of what the passage is about.
Throughout the first act of the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is introduced as a warrior hero. After the successful battle he had, Macbeth crosses the witches who predict him that he will be Thane of Cawdor and ultimately King of Scotland. At first he was in doubts but until the messenger arrives and tells him that he is granted the title Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth believes that the prophecy might be accurate after all. This is when he is first seen with ambitious thoughts and acts of engagement in treason.
B. A search for an opposition or tension within the passage.
Macbeth is a brave soldier and a powerful man, but he is not a virtuous one. When the idea of Macbeth being crowned is first suggested at the beginning of the play (given his irresistible temptation to become King), he goes on planning the murder of Duncan, King of Scotland. He has no suspicion, whatsoever, that the witches were leading him into his own self-destruction. All he knows is that he will become king, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir.”
C. An analysis of the details of the passage, possibly relating to the opposition already noted.
According to the theory of divine right, God bestows on kings the right to rule and an uprising against the king is by extension an uprising against the will of God. When Macbeth and Lady Macbeth murder Duncan, this is recognized as a rebellion act against God and therefore brings us to our main theme the overturning of the natural order. In order to become king, Macbeth has to commit his first crime into killing the king. He is easily tempted into murder to fulfill his ambitions to the throne. In Act 1 Scene 3, the three witches predicted a future as Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland for Macbeth, “All hail,...
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