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Shakespeare - "Macbeth" Why Are The Witches Important in Shakespeare's play Macbeth ?

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G.C.S.E English Coursework Shakespeare: "Macbeth" Why Are The Witches Important in Shakespeare's play "Macbeth"? Between the years of 1560 and 1603 there was a fascination with witches and witchcraft. The people of Europe blamed everything that they could not explain, including milk going sour, on witches. Witch-hunts were taking place all over the continent and the world. The King of Britain, at that time, James I believed that witches were plotting against him, he often interrogated witches who were under trial for witchcraft. The interrogation commonly involved torturing. The King felt it was crucial to caution people about witches and witchcraft; hence in 1597 he published "Demonology". He immediately ordered the printing of the manuscript when he became the King of England in 1603. The playwright, Shakespeare uses an impressive dramatic device in the play, the audience came and saw the play as it was about a great hero, and the opening scene has witches in; which were thought of being evil and devil-like. ...read more.


The witches then predict that he will be Thane of Cawdor and the King of Scotland. His thoughts after the witches have vanished is that of astonishment and disbelief: "Into the air, and what seemed corporal, Melted, as breath into the wind. Would they have stayed" Banquo subsequently reassures Macbeth that he will be the Thane of Cawdor. Shortly after the predictions from the witches Macbeth is named the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth's behaviour after he is named the Thane seems to be different. Banquo is worried that the prophecies may lead to evil, after Banquo's warning Macbeth has a soliloquy, which involves him contemplating killing Duncan, the King of Scotland. He is horrified and fascinated by his thoughts but he is willing to do the sin, surprisingly. "This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion, Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs Against the use of nature? ...read more.


Eventually Macbeth agrees to fight Macduff. He dies, and as Macduff presents Macbeth's severed head to the Thanes, Malcolm is hailed the King of Scotland. In my opinion I feel that Macbeth was, in the scenes before the witches gave their prophecies, a typical man; but when the we�rd sisters tell him about his future he becomes a megalomaniac. He begins to rely on the prophecies the we�rd sisters give him, moreover he seems to be more influenced by the we�rd sisters than his wife. Lady Macbeth does support him, and she persuades him to do things that he has second thoughts about, for example, killing Duncan. I believe that the plot simply would not make sense without the witches, if they did not exist the audience would not know what Macbeth means when he refers back to the predictions and the Apparitions, furthermore the audience would not know what his motivations were. In addition, the main theme of the play would not be such a contradiction of it's self. If the witches did not say, "fair is foul, and foul is fair" the audience would not realise that Macbeth is malicious and the audience's attention would not be caught immediately. ...read more.

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