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In Macbeth, in what ways is the opening line of Act I, Scene 4 effective:  "Is execution done on Cawdor?"


Shakespeare's opening line in Act I, Scene 4 of Macbethprovides a transition from the previous scene and adds unity to the work.  It creates unity by reintroducing the topic of Cawdor's execution which is spoken of previously in Act I:2.  It transitions from Macbeth being on the heath in the previous scene to Macbeth's arrival at the king's castle of few lines later. 

This opening line also leads into the introduction of a recurrent idea in the play that one cannot tell what is on a person's mind just by looking at his face.  As Duncan tells Malcolm in response to Malcolm's comments concerning the nobility of Cawdor's death:

...There's no art

to find the mind's construction in the face.

He was a gentleman on whom I built

An absolute trust.

The opening line leads to this idea, which recurs repeatedly throughout the play.

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