Shakespeare was known for his excellent and interesting plays. Going and watching a shakespeare play was a very popular form of entertainment. The first twoo scenes had to be interesting, there was much competition with other theatre groups and other forms of entertainment like bearbaiting which was becoming increasingly more popular. Now the theatre has become a less popular place which most people hardly go to.
The language used on stage has changed a lot too. Poetry is now rarely used in productions but when used sounds really effective and entertaining. The language which Shakespeare used made the plays sound much more exaggerated. It is understandable when listening to it but it is hard to translate completly.
“Nor would we deign him burial of his men.”
When reading Shakespeares plays we have to remember that it was not written for reading, it was made for stage. It was also evident that the actors who were in the play did not have the entire script of the play in their possession, in Shakespears time there were no copyright laws so all of Shakespeares plays had to be closely guarded.
Many of Shakespeares plays were preformed at The Globe Theatre. It had minimal props and all exits and entrances had to be clearly noticed. There were no lghts and special effects, so the actors had to be loud enough for the people at the back to hear.
As i said before the first two scenes had to be interesting, the atmosphere had to be created instantly,
“When shall we three meet again,
In thunder, lightning or in rain.”
We get a feeling of eeriness and darkness, and a strange plot developing due to the witches. The weather is strange so we also think that something ambigious is beggining to form.
The witches or the ‘weird sisters’ open the play, they are surrounded by suspicion and fear, to see the witches on stage would instantly make the audience scared of what is going to happen because witches in Shakespearian time we believed to be able to do horrible things to people.
In Macbeth the witches ar always predicting the future, they direct the action of the play by using their powers of minipulating people.
“When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battles lost and won.”
In this quote the witches basically said, when the confusion is over, when the battles been lost and won. They cannot predict who will win the battle. They are refering to the fog of war.
We instantly get the feeling of a war between two large armys, and the confusion which is being created at this time. The witches then predict when the war will end.
“There will be ere the set of sun.”
Which translates to, before the setting of the sun. The confusion must be disapearing because they are able to predict when the war will end.
The witches then discuss Macbeth, they are planning a place to meet him in which they will plant an evil seed inside him, and start the chain of events which leed to his downfall in society. If the audience would have heard the witches say Macbeths name it would make them suspicious, which would make them more interested in how the plot develops. The wiches were feared by people because of all the evil things which are asscioated with the image of a witch.
During the first scene we imagine the witches chanting because of the way Shakespeare gave them rhyming lines. They use rhyming couplets to emphisize on selected important lines.
“When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the battles lost and won”
Shakespeare wanted to direct the audiences attention towards this line because it is a vital indication to what is going to happen in the scenes which are coming up.
“Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
This is another important scene in the play because it also gives us an insight to what is going to happen in the scenes to come.
This is in my opinion this is the most significant line in the scene. This is because the witches are basically stating that, right is wrong and wrong is right. There are no rules which they have to follow, everything they do is right. They have no consience, o they do not feel guilty for the things that they do.
The witches in Macbeth were a very effective and useful tool for Shakespeare. The public would be very disturbed if they had seen witches on stage. Witches were believed in more in Shakespearian time, they were believed to be able to do the followin things:
– Speak with the devil and with his help communicate with the dead
– See into the future
– Make people fall ill and kill people at a distance
– Use animals such as cats as disguises for the evil spirts who serve them
The last point links back to act 1 scene 1 where the witches say
“I come, Graymalkin.”
It shows that in Macbeth Shakespeare shows some of these witches powers to make the audience believe that they are evil witches, and have got slaves who use other forms to worship them. A Graymalkin is a cat, which sounds like it contains an evil spirit because it is comanding the witches.
In act 1 scene 2 we learn a lot about Macbeth largely from what others say about himand his loyalty to king Duncan. Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis and one of the King’s close friends. During act 1 scene 2 there is a large battle which was mentioned by the witches in act 1 scene 1. At the end of the battle Macbeth is given the title of one of the kings unloyal thanes, the Thane of Cawdor. Looking at what has happend with Macbeths promotion, it suggests that this is a ‘Tragedy’ but we do not have enough evidence from the first two scenes to back this up. A ‘Tragedy’ begins with a figure of a Great Hero, who is very popular with the local people, everybody talks about that person and praises him for all his achievements. The hero then gains a promotion and his status amounst the people is elevated even higher. Then there is a ultimate decline in which the Hero becomes unpopular, the Hero’s fatal flaw causes this which in Macbeths case, is his ambition.
Looking at the end of act 1 scene 2 King Duncan states
“What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.”
This may not mean just the title, it could mean also the disloyalty that the original Thane of Cawdor had. This links back to the witches because they said,
“Fair is foul and foul is fair.”
They said that there are no boundaries between good and bad so Macbeth cannot possibly take all the good from the Thane of Cawdor, he must take all the bad things about him too.