What atmosphere is established in act 1, scene 1 of Macbeth?

The characters of this first scene are the three witches, and the tone is ominous and supernatural, far off from civilization. This first scene is what sets the tone for the rest of the play.


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The first scene of Macbeth takes place on a desolate Scottish moor during a stormy evening as the Three Witches meet and speak in eerie, chanting tones. The deserted location and turbulent weather contribute to the ominous, foreboding atmosphere of the play as the Three Witches discuss when they will meet again. The conversation between the hideous witches is also filled with supernatural, chaotic imagery. The witches mention "thunder," "lightning," "rain," and "filthy air," which are dark, gloomy images. In addition to discussing the dismal weather, their chanting tones and rhyming couplets imitate the casting of a spell. By mentioning Macbeth's name, there is a sense of foreshadowing that he will be in danger.

The scene concludes with the witches chanting "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," which is a paradox and motif that runs throughout the play. The significant phrase "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" means that appearances can be deceiving and suggests that there is a discrepancy between...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 871 words.)

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