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Capital punishment

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Discuss Shakespeare's Presentation of 'The Witches' in Macbeth In this piece of coursework I'm going to discuss how Shakespeare presents the witches to us in Macbeth, I'm going to analyse Act 1 Scene 1,3 and Act 4 Scene 1, this is where we find the most information about the witches and how they use their powers to attract and change Macbeth. I will also be discussing character interactions for example the effect of witches predictions on Macbeth, and Banquo. The play was first preformed in 1606 when the belief of witchcraft was real and it was also punishable by death. The seventeenth century audience would have been terrified of witches. Shakespeare's decision to write a play involving witchcraft and the supernatural was brave and also a very good way of attracting the audience. To avoid any contemporary comparisons Shakespeare chooses a subject that is nearly 500 years old. From the very start of the play, we learn that the witches are planning to do something to Macbeth, as they say "Upon the Heath. There to meet with Macbeth", Shakespeare also plays on the belief in his era that witches could control the weather, when he gives the stage directions: 'Thunder and Lighting. ...read more.


Later in the scene, Macbeth remarks that the Witches 'seemed real' but yet they vanish like bubbles "into the air." No such doubt occurs in the response of the Witches to Macbeth: He is Thane of Glamis, he is Thane of Cawdor, and he shall be King. This contrast between what is uncertain and what is certain, or between what is confused and what is ordered, is one of Shakespeare importance in the writing of this play, and it is clear that Shakespeare wants us to see it. Banquo's reaction to this prediction is understandable as he wants to know if his kids will ever become king. Why should he not also have his future predicted? But the Witches' answer to him is more confusing: "lesser and greater," "not so happy much happier," "get kings be none" all suggest a more unpredictable future. Shakespeare combines Macbeth's and Banquo's confusion at the Witches' vanishing with their disbelief at what has been spoken. The quote to "the insane root that takes the reason prisoner" suggests the working of the strange potion, and the clear impression is that they feel they have been dreaming. Ross arrives and announces that Macbeth is to be the new Thane of Cawdor, confirming the first prediction of the Witches. ...read more.


The result scares him, taking away his courage. The children who appear in this potion are the children of Fleance. The light of their golden crowns "does sear my eye-balls" and causes his eyes to jump from their sockets. Then Shakespeare tries to create a climax to Macbeth's reaction which occurs in the line "What! will the line of inheritance stretch out to the crack of doom?" in which he finally realizes the possibility of no future. In this scene their has been thunder, ghosts and Witches, but Shakespeare adds a final twist: The eighth child-king carries a mirror that reflects the faces more kings. The Witches confirm what Macbeth has seen: "Ay sir, all this is so." This frustrates Macbeth as they vanish after saying this. Macbeth seems immediately to forget the final prediction. On being informed that Macduff has fled to England, once he hears this, he decides to wreak a terrible revenge on Macduff's wife and children. In conclusion, although the witches did have the power to accurately predict significant events in Macbeth's life, the actual carrying out' of those predictions was undertaken by Macbeth (and his wife, Lady Macbeth). They may have accomplished their status ( King ) without their illegal actions, but by acting on their own rank as king, both Macbeth and his wife carry full blame. Kyle Moore 11Q ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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