William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, Scenes 1-3

The opening scene with the three playful witches gives the reader a hint about what is about to come. Also, whenever the witches, monsters, or any other supernatural elements are present in the story, the reader knows to expect the everlasting battle between good and evil.

Since I am not different than the other readers, I already have expectations and ideas about what may or may not happen further in the story. Our first impressions about Macbeth are created based on what we learn about him from the wounded captain. He informs the king Duncan about Macbeth and Banquo’s bravery on the battlefield. Up to Macbeth’s encounter with the three witches, he is a great and honorable Scottish general. Well, this is soon to change! While he does display courage on the battlefield, the reader starts to doubt his real motivation. Is he driven by true honor or rather by an unhealthy ambition?

The witches’ prophecy that he will become a king one day, Macbeth takes seriously. It obviously makes him joyous. My opinion is that he fancies the idea of becoming a king even prior to meeting with the witches. The witches are there just to give him what we may call ‘moral support’ to realize his intentions.

Also, another clue that gives away Macbeth’s true or even “bloody” character is the way he kills the Irish soldier on the battlefield. He splits the man open from his navel to the mouth and then puts his head on a stick on the field. Talking to king Duncan, the sergeant says,

“Which ne’er shook hands nor bade farewell to him.

Till he unseamed  him from the nave to th’ chops,

And fixed his head upon our battlements”.

Macbeth doesn’t simply kill the man. He kills in a very cold-blooded and grisly manner.

 

 

 

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One response to “William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, Scenes 1-3

  1. I like what you write about how the manner in which Macbeth kills the Irish traitor reveals so much about Macbeth’s character. I also really appreciate the following comment: “While he does display courage on the battlefield, the reader starts to doubt his real motivation. Is he driven by true honor or rather by an unhealthy ambition?” This is a question that echoes throughout this play. and we certainly receive our answer soon.

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