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Discussing the role of the witches in Macbeth

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Chris Cowley Discussing the role of the witches in Macbeth In the play, Shakespeare used the witches to represent the supernatural, evil, a destructive force and an inversion of natural order. At the time the play was written, people believed this, and feared witches. People believed that witches had the power to change the weather and other special powers such as predicting the future and the power of flight. In Act 1 Scene 1 Shakespeare begins the play with the witches discussing when they should next meet. He does this because he wants the audience to be curious about the witches, and what role they play. We also see in this scene that the witches have the power to see into the future. In this scene we also see that the witches plan to meet with Macbeth after a battle. This suggests that the witches have plans for Macbeth, and makes the audience associate Macbeth with Evil. When the witches meet, they meet in deserted desolate places with bad weather such as thunder and lightning. When the witches are deciding when to meet again, the enforce the idea further that they are evil by asking, "When shall we meet again? ...read more.


Banquo notices that Macbeth is fearful because he is thinking about what he would have to do to become king. The Witches then vanish. Ross and Lennox appear bearing the news that Macbeth is the Thane of Cawdor, which furfils the second of the three prophecies made by the evil witches for Macbeth. Macbeth is badly affected by the witches prophecies, and is shown by the extreme action he takes in killing his good friend Banquo and the King Duncan. By killing the King he has done something which is sacrilegious because a king is God's representative in human form on earth. Macbeth hopes that he will not have to kill anyone to become king, and that nature will take it's course. In Act 4 Scene 1 Macbeth revisits the witches to find out what his future is going to turn out like. This time the witches were in a desolate place, with thunderous weather. When Macbeth meets them, his firsts words are "I conjure you" this language makes him sound like "one of them" and is a sign of evil and how it is taking over Macbeth. Macbeth is given three apparitations each with a prophecy- 1) ...read more.


This targeted Macbeth's weakness- his ambition then misleading him with half truths. Macbeth was responsible because in the end it was his own choice, and he didn't have to act on what the Witches or anyone else had said. Lady Macbeth was also responsible because she was power hungry. This was because as she was Macbeth's wife, she would become the Kings wife if he went that far. In early parts of the play, she is in control and is practical as she plans Duncans murder and also knows about Macbeth's weakness which is his ambition. Lady Macbeth also taunts him for lack of manliness. In Act 1 Scene 7 Lady Macbeth also claims that they will not fail, but ironicallyshe is not as strong as she first apears and shows her first signs of weakness when she says she would hav killed Duncan herself if she did not look like her father. Lady Macbeth is also ruthless as shown in the scene where she recieves a letter from Macbeth. Overall I think that without the witches Macbeth would not have gone to the lengths he did, and would not have acted in the smae way. With the witches, they strengthened Macbeth's evil nature and the importance of loyalty and order in the kingdom. Chris Cowley ...read more.

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