These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one. The witches’ line reflects on human nature as there are fair and foul parts to everyone. Shakespeare wanted to get this message across as the main character, Macbeth, is a prime example of the struggle between good and bad within one person.
This opening scene is set in a battle field. The scary thunder and lightening is an example of pathetic fallacy; the weather reflects the aggressive atmosphere and vicious characters.
In line 8, the witches mention that they will “meet with Macbeth”. This makes the audience wonder who Macbeth is. We are curious to find out about the elusive character as we wonder what sort of person associates with such vile and unnatural creatures. Our questions are not answered and we are left wondering at the end of this scene.
This opening scene is one of the most important. It establishes the witches, who are considered to be the root of all the evil in this play. This is the start of the battle between good and evil, right and wrong, and this creepy beginning makes the audience feel that things are only going to get worse.
Scene Two, however, is a stark contrast to the previous scene. In this scene we first meet Duncan, the King of Scotland.
In Shakespearean times, the people believed in the “Divine Right of Kings”...
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....” This line shows that Macduff is full of humanity and compassion, unlike Macbeth.
When he hears of Lady Macbeth’s death from his servant, Seyton, Macbeth is less than indifferent. He feels no grief, just inconvenience, “she should have died hereafter.”
His reaction shows that he has lost all kindness. Macbeth is now so self-centred that he has no emotion to spare.
Shakespeare used many comparisons between good and bad in Macbeth. Good and evil are as direct a contrast as black and white; I think that by juxtaposing the bad with the opposing good, Shakespeare made the bad seem even worse and even more extreme. This is because the audience are able to see the evil and good emotions taking place and can see the direct contrast themselves.
Even though this play is focused on the evil in human nature, Shakespeare still ends the play with good triumphing over evil.
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