What is the importance of the opening act/scene of Macbeth?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In the opening scene of Macbeth, the witches are discussing a meeting that they plan to have with Macbeth. This scene sets the tone which is filled with suspense. The reader is interested in the witches' actions. There is an element of suspense. The reader becomes intrigued by what the witches are discussing.

With this opening scene, the reader is curious about what the witches plan to share with Macbeth. The witches' conversation fascinates the reader:

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

This statement creates a sense of danger. What could be so important? What do the witches desire to share with Macbeth? Macbeth is a busy man. He is on the battlefield, yet these witches plan to enlighten Macbeth. The opening scene sets the stage for dread and foreboding evil. These witches are up to no good. They have a plan that will change Macbeth's life forever.


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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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This question has been asked and answered many times on eNotes.  Here is a link for you:  http://www.enotes.com/macbeth/q-and-a/tags/act+1+scene+1