• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the dramatic impact and significance of the witches in Macbeth.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare Coursework By Liz Cartwright 10Pu "Examine the dramatic impact and significance of the witches in Macbeth." The witches, who feature in Shakespeare's Macbeth, are significant and essential to the plays' story line. Witches, around the time of Shakespeare, were seen as demons and messengers from the devil, and were burnt at the stake, as it was believed that these evil spirits urged people to commit wrong acts. Witches and evil spirits feature in several of Shakespeare's plays, but none were as evil as that of the Witches in Macbeth. The King at the time was James I, who had an interest in witchcraft, as he believed that a witch had tried to sink his ship whilst the King was at sea. He also wrote the book, "Demonology", which is where Shakespeare learnt many of the witches chants and spells for the play. The witches are very important to the play because they predict Macbeth's rise and fall. From the very first scene we can tell that the three characters on stage are evil. The thunder and lightening represent confusion, disorder and turmoil. Then, in the first four lines we can see that they have the ability to foresee the future, as they talk of when they will meet again which shows superhuman powers. ...read more.

Middle

At the end of Scene 3, the audience would feel shocked that the predictions had come true and would also be wondering how Macbeth could insure that the final prediction comes true as well. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth is reading a letter written by Macbeth about his meeting with the witches. Upon finding out this information, she shows her evil side, asking the spirits to take away her feminine qualities so she can kill the King, Duncan, herself, as she knows Macbeth is too kind and she remarks: "It is too full o' the milk of human kindness..." This shows a relationship between her and the witches, and by the time Macbeth arrives, only a few minutes later, she has already geared herself up to killing Duncan. It is the witches' prophecies, together with Lady Macbeth comments towards his manhood that drives Macbeth to kill the King for his own gain. We do not meet the witches again until Act 3 Scene 5, after the murders of the King and Banquo have been committed and all of the trouble regarding the disappearance of the Kings sons and the murder investigation begin. They again meet on the heath, together with the thunder to emphasise the confusion and disorder. They meet Hecate, the senior witch, who is angry with them for having dealings with Macbeth and she describes him as: "...a wayward son..." ...read more.

Conclusion

which shows that he has excepted that he cannot hide from his fate. The final reference to the witches lying, is when Macduff tells him, Act 5 Scene 8, that he was born by Caesarian. Macbeth has to except that the witches have lied to him. Macduff then kills Macbeth. Throughout the play the witches, never actually suggest that Macbeth should kill anyone to ensure that the prediction came true. They merely used language to increase his confidence and his feeling of indestructibility and security. The witches are in the play as they serve a variety of purposes. The most obvious role is to give Macbeth the initial ideas and to create the ambition within him. The witches also help to show the audience the changes that are occurring in the character as the play progresses, which can be seen through the way he talks to the witches. For example, he gets more and more familiar as he gets further away from the constraints of human society. On a more practical and theatrical level, the witches provide a change in scene and mood, which keeps the audiences' attention. The message put across by the play about witches is that they are evil and not to be trusted. An audience in Shakespeare's time would have understood this message, as witches and witchcraft were very prominent and people were scared of the evil spirits. Nowadays the audiences see the witches as a dramatic device that adds tensions and drama to the plot of the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. By considering the soliloquies, analyse how Macbeth's character changes as the play progresses.

    "My Genius is rebuk'd, as it is said Mark Antony's was by Ceasar."(Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 54 and 55) This quotation reveals how Macbeth sees himself as a genius and also compares himself to previous great emperors such as Mark Antony.

  2. The Dramatic Impact and Significance of Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene ...

    As soon as he hears this news it triggers off the pattern of greed in his mind. He begins to change from a hero who fights and wins battles into someone is willing to murder, lie and deceive just to get the throne.

  1. The Dramatic Impact of The Witches in Macbeth

    Each witch responds almost instantly as if continuing the sentence like one being. This crates the atmosphere of a spell or a chant. This enables them to see past the present in to the future such as when they say " when the battles lost and won", this suggests that they already know the outcome they know more than you.

  2. How does Shakespeare present the witches in an interesting and dramatic way?

    be the most active; the audience would already know this intensifying the atmosphere. Shakespeare is trying to achieve in this opening part of the play was the feeling of confusion, leads to the feeling of fear rising: 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

  1. What is the role of the witches in Macbeth?

    Though, Macbeth does not seem it unusual that the witches have just disappeared and simply answers to Banquo "melted, as breath in the wind. Would they had stay'd". This reply clearly indicates to us that Macbeth is more concerned with what the witches had to tell him.

  2. Macbeth - Do the witches heighten the dramatic impact of the play?

    I think that the general views of witches and witchcraft today does change the dramatic impact of the play because no one will actually be surprised to see witches in a production because many television shows, plays, films and books has featured witches or some sort of witchcraft since Macbeth

  1. Macbeth - Act 4 Scene 1: Discuss the Dramatic Potential in this scene.

    The third apparition is a child crowned, with a tree in his hand. This apparition tells Macbeth that he cannot be vanquished until, Great Birnam Wood, will come to High Dunsinane Hill. The apparition will again grip the audience, as it has many interpretations.

  2. Macbeth was led down to an inescapable road of doom by an outside force, ...

    He also want the audience to think she evil in the ways she persuades Macbeth in to murdering. This two points, as a sharp contrast of each other and this is what give it the powerful effect of evil. For Macbeth.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work