Essay by leona-xHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2008

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In the opening scenes of Macbeth, Shakespeare very effectively makes the play dramatic and interesting. In scene one, the play begins with some thunder and lightning. In Shakespeare's time people believed that fierce storms released evil spirits. This is very fitting, as the witches appear. In Shakespeare's time, people were particularly wary of witchcraft and supernatural powers. They executed anyone whom they thought was practising witchcraft, as it was related to evil. The witches at the start of Macbeth would have been frightening for an olden-day audience, who would have realised that they were up to no good. Even a modern audience would realise that the witches' presence was ominous, and would see that they are evil. The incantation at the end of the scene helps to emphasise how unnatural the witches are.

"Fair is foul and foul is fair

Hover through the fog and filthy air."

The use of the paradox would show that the witches' morals are totally different to society's, and the reference to "fog and filthy air" might suggest that their evil doings would be done at a time when we least expect it.

The start of scene two is quite a change from the first scene. It is set in a camp near a battlefield. In scene one, the witches mentioned "hurlyburly", ie. fighting. It makes the audience wonder if the battle is the witches' doing. The captain's vivid account of the battle adds drama to the story. The audience hears Macbeth described as a courageous hero, as the captain tells how he defeated the "merciless Macdonwald".

The battle seems even more dramatic as the captain describes Macbeth's sword:

"Which smoked with bloody execution,

Like valour's minion carved out his passage."

This gives the audience a very...