Act 1 reveals the forces of good and evil and a deceptive environment in society * Macbeth’s world is a place where bad is good and good is bad = deception is evident * “Fair is foul and foul is fair”
S2 – gives us more knowledge of Macbeth as with the sergeant’s account of Macbeth * Courageous efforts in the war in support of King Duncan * “If I say sooth, I must report they were/ As canons overcharged with double cracks, so they/ Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe/ * Through this Macbeth is portrayed as a valiant soldier but we as the audience know that from S1 that the forces between good and evil are not easily identified. * Macbeth is described as valiant but “fair is foul and foul is fair”
Lady Macbeth is portrayed as being a very well-mannered and well-groomed housewife when in reality she is just as evil as the witches. When Duncan comes to the Macbeth residence, she seems as though she is happy and delighted to see the king; * All our service/ In every point twice done and then done double” * Demonstrates hypocritical traits through her behaviour, actions and speech. * Soon after, asks evil spirits or “tend on moral thoughts [and] unsex” her * We are introduced to the interesting idea that a housewife (the woman behind the man) could force her will upon a supposedly strong-minded husband. L.M. manipulative and constantly changing character is of interest in A1, because she seems to be the central figure in determining the fate of King Duncan.
Act 1 presents and demonstrates a world full of deception;
* The uncertainty and inconsistency in the characters
* Characters show many human traits and emotion that the audience can identify with
* Makes it harder to judge characters
* A lot of mental involvement
Macbeth is clearly described as a man with conflicting sides to his personality; * He seems to be a loyal and gallant hero as he is described by the king as the “worthiest cousin” * However, his loyalty is no true when he, talking to himself says, “Prince of Cumberland! That is a step/ On which I must fall down or else o’er leap/ …Let not light see my black and deep desires”
The constant struggling forces of good and evil play a significant role in Act 1 of Macbeth adding interest to the plot and characters. The battles, both mental and physical, involve good and evil forces, which are constantly fighting throughout this act. Macbeth’s inner conflict, between his good and evil emotions, is very deceptive and unpredictable during the act. Macbeth has proven that he can fight with loyalty and pride for his king, but also he is seen to have wicked thoughts of killing the king. During act one, Macbeth says the be-all and the end-all–here / But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, / We’ld jump the life to come (1.7.5-7), which means that Macbeth knows that if he gets away with the murder here, he would not get away with it in the afterlife. Macbeth shows that even in his evil planning, there still lies a noble and loyal person. The good side of Macbeth tries desperately to convince him that killing Duncan would be wrong. The evil side however still leads him as he does not consider any future consequences except for his kingship. This continuing battle within Macbeth is interesting as his future fate and actions depend on which side of his personality (good or evil) is victorious.