Act 1, Scene 1: the witches

The opening scene hints that chaos is lurking

The very first scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth may seem like a scene where nothing really happens. We meet three witches accompanied by their magical animals. We learn that they plan to meet with someone called Macbeth once a battle is over. This scene is short and brisk - just like the play as a whole.

However, the idea of the opening scene is to indicate that this is a world that will soon collapse into chaos. The Elizabethans believed that everything in the universe was ordered into a strict hierarchy called the Chain of Being. Upsetting this natural hierarchy would lead to the unnatural state of chaos. In Scene 1, there are indications that order has already been disturbed. This is shown through three elements.

First, the stage directions tell us that there is thunder and lightning. The fact that the setting is marked by violent weather is a sign that the world is heading for a state of chaos. The witches refer to the weather directly, for instance when they “hover through the f...

Teksten herover er et uddrag fra webbogen. Kun medlemmer kan læse hele indholdet.

Få adgang til hele Webbogen.

Som medlem på får du adgang til alt indhold.

Køb medlemskab nu

Allerede medlem? Log ind