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Macbeth Coursework

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Introduction

Macbeth Coursework In this essay, I am going to look at and explore the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth. I will look at the way they are presented in each of their four scenes; how audiences might react to them and the part they play in his downfall. The witches don't appear much in the play but bring about the idea of both evil and ambition. In Act 1 Scene 1 the mood is set. We first hear of the witches and the play begins with thunder and lightning. The witches are waiting for Macbeth, which suggests they are there for a purpose. The gives a creepy feeling and also the evil and supernatural emerge. In superstitious times it was believed that fierce storms released forces of evil and were omens of unrest. The witches immediately establish this and also make it very clear that they are going to meet Macbeth. However, where they will meet him isn't made clear. They say that they will meet him "upon the heath" which sounds strange and deserted. They use negative language and this is shown when arranging their next visit; "In thunder, lightning or in rain". They don't seem to want to meet in sunshine and this gives the audience the feeling of evil and wickedness. ...read more.

Middle

The witches my actually be reading Macbeth's mind- therefore exaggerating thoughts and turning them into their predictions. Macbeth questions how he is to be Thane of Cawdor and "to be king stands not within the prospect of belief." He asks the witches where they get this information. He wants to know more and begs the witches to stay-"Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more." Again, this is another example of his burning ambition. Through out the scene the witches highlight this and also bring attention to the fact that he wants to be king. The next scene I will look is Act 4 Scene 1. We meet the witches conjuring up a spell in their cauldron. All sorts of interesting ingredients are added such as reptile, shark, goat, tiger, baboon and wolf. These animals are all related to black magic and nighttime. I think Shakespeare's main motive of including this "spell" was to really enhance the supernatural and create the eerie mood among the audience. Hecate (the Queen of witchcraft) appears, approves their work- "O Well done", and calls for music, song and dance to celebrate the end of the witches' preparations. Hecate leaves. The witches then sense and evil omen approaching- " By the Pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes." Macbeth then enters and demands to know what the future holds for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

They make Macbeth believe that the prize of Kingship he longs for is near and the show him the power of royalty. It is more realistic however to believe that Macbeth was responsible for his own actions throughout the play and it was he who made the final decisions. The witched foretell the future, add temptation and evil and influence Macbeth but they cannot control his thoughts or actions. The witches offer great enticement but it is in the end Macbeth's decision to fall for the temptation, not to resist. Lady Macbeth also contributes to his downfall and is shown early in the play as a very ambitious woman. She can manipulate Macbeth easily because he loves her. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear." (Act 1 Scene 5) Before the speech she gives in act 1 scene 5, Macbeth decides not to go through with the killing of the king. However, Lady Macbeth chips away at Macbeth's self esteem by playing n his manliness and bravery. He is like a child who is easily guided and Lady Macbeth knows it. She can convince him to do anything. On the other hand, as the play develops there is a reversal of order and Macbeth becomes the dominating partner. Macbeth himself already harbours the thoughts of kingship and ambition that in the end leads him to commit murders. He willingly listens to the witches and takes onboard what they have to say. ...read more.

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