How does Shakespeare establish characters and theme in the opening act of "Macbeth"?

Essay by k3v1n_p4rk June 2006

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Shakespeare's characters and themes in "Macbeth" are strongly developed right from the beginning. Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques to establish his themes and characters, via the dialogue and stage directions in his play. The introductory actions of the characters, along with the location and weather of the scene, work in conjunction with the language devices to quickly establish the key characters and themes.

A prominent theme of Macbeth is the supernatural. Shakespeare uses the witches as the centre of the supernatural and mystery in the play. Shakespeare establishes an atmosphere of evil connected to the witches by setting the scene during a storm to give a dark eerie mood. The isolated setting and anonymous witches further hints at a separate supernatural Macbeth. He represents morality. He takes a very different outlook on the prophecies of the witches, 'Good sir, why do you ... seem to fear Things that do sound so fair?'; his attitude also stays consistent.

Shakespeare uses Banquo to represent normality and to compare the behaviour of the other characters with.

Shakespeare's diverse use of language is his strongest tool to put across his characters and themes. His most striking devices are the use of imagery, antithesis, soliloquies and metaphor. Using them he establishes in the play a dark mood and contrasting characters. The performance of the play will further enhance his devices and acting will contribute to how the audience perceive his characters.