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

The Importance of the Three Witches in Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


May 4th 2012 Harris Macbeth paper 2.0 Macbeth is a tragedy that was written by Shakespeare in the early 17th century. The play has impacted theatre around the entire globe, many writers have been inspired by Shakespeare?s play. The play was performed in the Globe Theatre in the early 17th century. The play is multidimensional, and every portion serves some significance. The witches play a major role in the play; they represent a continuation in major literary works, they represent the cultural values of the Victorian age, and they represent the weaknesses of humans. As stated earlier the witches represent continuity in major literary works through the centuries. First there are three witches, and often times they speak in reference to three. The first line of the play displays this ?When shall we meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?? (I.i.1-2). The number three has been important to literature ever since the first major Western works, such as the bible. ...read more.


Similarly the witches speak in paradoxes, and equivocations. ?Fair is foul, and foul is fair? (I.i.12). The last major continuity the witches represent can be seen through their ruler. Hecate the Goddess of darkness ruled the witches. Hecate was a Greek goddess and people in the Shakespearean age would not have worshipped her, however she was included in the play. Furthermore the witches in Macbeth also epitomize the cultural ideals of the Victorian age. Literature is often a product of its environment. Macbeth has been no different. ?Witchcraft? was a major part of life during the Victorian age. Many women were executed for being witches, because their ideas were not supported by the conservative Victorian philosophy. People believed that witches had supernatural abilities. The witches in Macbeth had supernatural abilities. First, they could predict the future. Second, the witches have control over the natural order. ?I?ll give thee a wind? (I.iii.11). This quote comes from the second meeting of the witches. ...read more.


Macbeth is absolutely no different, once he learned that Macduff was going to be the cause of his, he went out of control. ?The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th? edge o? th? sword His wife, his babies and all unfortunate souls. That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool. This dead I?ll do before this purpose cool (IV.i.151-155). The witches clearly exploited human nature. They scared Macbeth by showing him who would kill him, ironically in his attempt to prevent fate he only brought it closer to him. His fears became self-fullfilling prophecies. In the end, he was the only person to blame for his death. In conclusion the witches were revolutionary, and they were historical at the same time. The witches were key to the plot structure because they brought about action. The witches have made this a play that has been very important globally. The play was extremely well though out. When analyzing the play we can see that even seemingly insignificant matters have greater significance. ...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. What is the role of the witches in Macbeth?

    Macbeth replies he can't believe what he is saying and the apparition goes on to say "Be lion hearted, proud; and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspires are: Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him."

  2. Discuss the role of witches in Act 1 of

    The imagery also relating to Macbeth on the issue of the message that he receives from the messenger that he has become the Thane of Cawdor surprises him, as he now believes the witches who earlier made the predictions that he would become that Thane of Cawdor.

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

    fuelled his ambition, which lead him to become greedy and power hungry. Macbeth was led down to an inescapable road of doom by an outside force, namely fate in the form of the three witches. There was no supernatural force working against Macbeth, which therefore makes him responsible for his own actions and inevitable downfall.

  2. How do the first three scenes foretell the tragedy of Macbeth?

    only fair that he becomes King, he achieves his ambition through a foul method. This is what the witches might be suggesting when they said this quote. Also it could propose that the witches are playing a 'game' with Macbeth and they think that everything is 'fair in love and war.'

  1. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Audience Recogise The Dramatic Importance Of The Weird Sisters. Discuss ...

    that the witches must know of Macbeth and leaves them assuming that Macbeth will be greatly influenced and affected by these three witches throughout the play; they will help to fuel his ambition. When the witches chant: ' Fair is foul, and foul is fair', this is telling us that

  2. Macbeth’s Ruin.

    in the home of Macduff as a spy. After finding out from the apparitions that Macduff will be indeed a real threat, Macbeth has his whole family brutally slaughtered. The aimless death of Macduff's family proves that Macbeth fears Macduff and thinks that the death of his loved ones will show his powers and thus deter Macduff's intentions towards Macbeth.

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