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The importance of the Witches in Macbeth

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Literature Coursework-The importance of the Witches in Macbeth The witches in the play Macbeth have an important part in the story line of the play, and therefore are important to it as a whole. The witches are the people who first reveal to Macbeth his future, and they are argued to be the reason to why Macbeth is driven to kill King Duncan. Macbeth broke the chain of being, which was believed in, and this caused (in the view of contemporary Jacobean audiences) the strange events later in the play. A noble men and peasants alike feared witches in the era Macbeth was written is. At this time, people were starting to read and to talk about new ideas of witchcraft, and Witches were hunted. The play Macbeth was made in order to be seen by King James IV. King James had a keen interest in witchcraft since 1589, where his ship was said to be in a storm, concocted by witches to kill the King. The saga of witchcraft appears in the early 13th century. ...read more.


Jews were branded as witches, and forced to live on the edge of cities, in fear that they would be prosecuted. As one can see, this fascination and history with witches would have an important role in how the play was seen by the audience (mainly James IV) and how the details of what the witches did in the play. The first place in the play where the witches are seen is in fact in the very first scene of the play. They are meeting in a storm (witches are said to be able to produce these), and they plan to meet with Macbeth once the battle is over. The next place we see the witches is in I: iii, where they are meeting with Macbeth. They tell him that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, and then King of Scotland. Macbeth refuses to believe then, as is shown in I: iii: 71-75, where he tell them that he know that the Thane of Cawdor is alive and well. Banquo's response to this, on the other hand is the he thinks the witches are intoxicated (I: iii: 84). ...read more.


The third and final vision appears, and this time it is a crowned baby, holding a tree. It tels them: "Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: MacBeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnham wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him." This adds to Macbeth's sense of invincibility, as he doesn't believe that the Great Birnham wood would move up the hill. This is proven false in V: v, where Macbeth is informed by a messenger that "as I did stand my watch upon the hill, I looked toward Birnam, and anon, methought, The wood began to move." Macbeth now realises that the apparitions' prophecies are coming true. In scene 8 of that very act, Macbeth encounters Macduff, and they battle. Macbeth is told, before he is slain, that Macduff was born by Caesarean, therefore being 'born of man'. The withces played a large role in the plot, and this therefore states their importance. Macbeth does realise that the witches have being playing him, and this is stressed by what his says in V: viii: 19, "And be these juggling fiends no more be believed" ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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