What effect is Shakespeare creating by beginning the play with this scene?
Shakespeare is creating suspense and mystery—appropriate for a tragedy. The first mention of the hero's name comes from the weird sisters which creates mystery and foreshadows his downfall. This also sets the atmosphere of the play; it is thundering and there is lightening. The witches or weird sisters are sinister and evil. This is a very ominous scene.
What do you suppose is suggested by the line, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"?
To the witches, what seems good is not, and what seems foul is good. It could also be suggested that things are not as they appear, that nature has been turned on her side.
What poetic devise is used in scene I and to what effect?
The alliteration of the "F" sound in "fair" and "foul" and "fog" and "filthy" allows the actors playing the Weird Sisters to emphasize their base slovenliness. Their speech sounds like a song or a chant.
What is the purpose of scene II?
Shakespeare offers the audience some important exposition-we learn of the Macdonwald revolt and of the (attempted) Norwegian invasion. The audience also hears Macbeth's name for the second time, this time in context with words like "brave" "valiant" and "worthy." He is very courageous and he is a fearsome fighter. This is also how we are introduced to Banquo.
What image do we have of Macbeth's bravery and ability as a warrior?
Concentrate on the image of Macbeth "carving out his passage" and then essentially slicing Macdonwald in half and cutting off his head.
How are Macbeth and King Duncan related?
They are cousins.
Who were Banquo and Macbeth fighting in scene II?
A rebellion led by Macdonwald and an attempted invasion by Norway assisted by the Thane of Cawdor.
What was Ross told to do by King Duncan?
Ross is to draft a death warrant for the Thane of Cawdor and then find Macbeth and tell him that he will be the new Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his valor in battle.
What do we learn about the weird sisters in scene III?
That they are evil, petty, and vindictive.
What do the weird sisters look like?
"wither'd and so wild" that Macbeth questions if they are human. They look like women, except that they have beards.
What are the prophecies that the weird sisters make regarding Macbeth?
They say he will become King of Scotland. Later, he will tend to believe this because they also correctly identified him as Thane of Glamis (a title inherited by his father). When Macbeth hears this, he is startled and apparently frightened.
What is the prophecy for Banquo?
Although he will not be a king himself, he will be the father of kings.
What does Macbeth mean in his aside about two truths being prologue to the act of the imperial theme?
The Weird sisters' pronouncement of his being Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor are true. He is thinking that the last part , about his becoming King, may also come true.
What dramatic conventions does Shakespeare use to lay out his tragedy?
Character action and reaction Foil character—Macbeth and Banquo Aside—to show Macbeth's inner conflict