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

Comment on the role of the witches in Macbeth.

Extracts from this document...


SHAKESPEARE PLAY Comment on the role of the witches in Macbeth. The witches have a major role in the play. Though they are not always physically present in every scene their supernatural presence is always there in every scene. They influence what happens in the play a lot. Their supernatural presence and wickedness is also passed on to other characters such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth throughout the play. The witches can influence Macbeth but they cannot control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by his own sense of guilt. The witches are only responsible for the introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideas, but it is Macbeths own temptation and desire that brings about his own downfall. Macbeth was responsible for his own actions throughout the play and in the end it was he who made the final decisions. As soon as the play starts the witches are the first characters to appear in the play which shows their importance in the play because every opening character is very important. There is also thunder and lightning which sets the seen for the spooky witches. Shakespeare might also have used the witches to appear at the beginning of the play to grab the audiences' attention so they would get interested and also in those days everybody believed in witches so it must have immediately grabbed their attention. ...read more.


This shows us that Macbeth has definitely set his sights on being king and is even thinking of murder existing in his imagination. He also sounds confused about the witches and he doesn't know whether they are evil or good and although he has ambitions to be king he decides to let chance takes its course and says all the bad days will come to an end 'Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day'. In the first 3 Scenes the witches have set the play in motion with the prediction of Macbeth being king and we can see how important the witches are, because they have sent this play rolling. Thereafter, Banquo and Macbeth go to King Duncan at the palace and it is there that King Duncan announces that his eldest son Malcolm will be the next king. As soon as he says this Macbeth moves aside and says to himself 'The prince of Cumberland! This is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'er leap.' This is the point where he changes his mind because he sees Malcolm as an obstacle between him and the throne. He also says 'Let not light see my black and deep desires' which admits to us that he has 'black and deep desires' and he doesn't want anyone to know i.e. ...read more.


So ambition, witches and Lady Macbeth has got him into so much trouble. Macbeth refused to listen to Banquo when he told him that the witches prophecies might be false, because he was tempted to become king. But the second set of prophecies begin to show their faults and Macbeth starts to blame the witches for deceiving him with half truths. While the witches are not totally responsible for the actions of Macbeth, they are responsible for introducing ideas to Macbeth, which fire up his ambitions and lead to disaster. The witches were also introduced into the play because during the time William Shakespeare wrote this play King James of England. King James had an encounter with a witch who told him something about the future that came true. Also during that period witches were a sort of phenomenon and everybody believed that it was true. Act 3 Scene 5 was not written by Shakespeare but it was written by someone else because he knew that the witches would keep the Shakespearean audience, especially the groundlings, interested in the play. The witches are introduced at different parts of the play where Shakespeare might have thought that the audience might have been losing concentration so by bringing in the witches he would have regained the interest of the public. It is a sort of strategic literature. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Discuss the Role Played by the Witches in the Tragedy of Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    The very word "dagger" fills us with excitement. We know that something is about to happen and the anticipation builds through Macbeth's soliloquy. Macbeth understands that the dagger isn't real. His explanation for this vision is his "heat-oppressed brain". The fact that Macbeth goes on and on about this dagger being "...a false creation..."

  2. Lady Macbeth's Character in Macbeth.

    One was his wife and this branch fell off before he reached it. The other branch was himself. I believe this is what puts him in and out of his states of fear, regret and evilness. However the force of gravity (the witches in this particular metaphor) was too great.

  1. How do the Witches in Macbeth Reflect contemporary ideas of witchcraft? Are the Witches ...

    If either of these is the case then contradiction occurs because Lady Macbeth mentions how weak Macbeth is, 'full o'th'milk of human kindness' and yet she needs help to corrupt him, so Macbeth can't be too strong minded. But if Lady Macbeth doubts her own power then why does she come across as so confident in her speech?

  2. Examine the role of the witches in Macbeth.

    This compares Macbeth's fighting as being as bloody and savage as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is a huge comparison, as Christ is a holy figure. I think that this shows Macbeth fights with such passion it could be almost a religion.

  1. Discussion of Macbeth - An Introduction

    sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other." This acknowledgement comes after he has considered all the good reasons for not murdering Duncan and only ambition is left to overrule his troubled conscience.

  2. Discuss the different influences, with particular reference to the witches, which lead to Macbeth's ...

    With this the scene ends and turns to Macbeth and the three witches. The scene opens with the three witches back on the heath but this time they are waiting for Macbeth. Whilst they wait they talk about "killing swine."

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