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

Discuss the dramatic importance of the Witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Elizabeth Austin Discuss the dramatic importance of the Witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth. In Macbeth the supernatural and the witches are very important in the play. In this essay I will be discussing the language, dramatic devices, the historical context and the appeal to the audience that this play would have had. Not all of this great tragedy was made up by Shakespeare, between 1040 and 1057 Scotland was ruled by a man named Macbeth. The real Macbeth was a rival of King Duncan 1, according to: Ralph Holinshed's chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, Macbeth had met three women in evil apparel who made certain prophecies. Encouraged by his wife and aided by his friend Banquo, Macbeth killed Duncan and reigned honourably for many years. The real Banquo also had a son called Fleance, who escaped when Banquo was killed. Also in Holinshed's chronicles there was a story of a man called King Duff who was murdered by Donwald and his wife when the king was staying as their guest. Shakespeare combined these two stories and came up with the plot of Macbeth. The king of England at the time Macbeth was written was king James 1, the play would have appealed to king James as it showed the downfall of a ...read more.

Middle

King James would have been interested in this because of his experience of witches raising a storm to try and kill him. It also proves to the audience that the witches intend to do what they do and that it is not by accident. The dramatic effect on the audience would be that they would be worried about Macbeth and they would be wondering what the witches would do to him. The things that the witches say they will do show the powers they were thought to possess, for example: "But in a sieve I'll thither sail" A Shakespearean audience would have considered sailing in a sieve to be a mode of transport used by witches and they would have taken the comment seriously. Today that belief would be disregarded, as not many people still believe in witches and supernatural powers. The witch's tale links in with what they do to Macbeth because they torture Macbeth but do not directly cause his death, just as they propose to torture the sailor but they do not propose to actually kill him. When Macbeth and Banquo enter Macbeth's language mirrors the witches: "So fair and foul a day I have not seen." ...read more.

Conclusion

This would have shocked the audience because it is so cruel. Before Macbeth visits the witches in act 4 scene1 the witches are mixing a potion to show Macbeth the three apparitions, some of the ingredients of the potion are disgusting for example: the mummy of a dead witch, the liver of a blaspheming Jew and the gut of a salt-sea shark. These ingredients show how evil the witches are, as all of the above ingredients would involve killing and death. As Macbeth purposely looks for the witches in this scene the audience would see that he is in the grip of evil. This meeting affects Macbeth by causing him to send his men to kill Macduff's family, because Macbeth believes that time is getting the better of him so he will act as soon as he thinks of them: "Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits: the flighty purpose never is o'ertook unless the deed go with it." Here Shakespeare is using Personification, talking about time as if time is a person. I think that Shakespeare chose to use personification because it is as if Macbeth is thinking out loud. After each meeting with the witches Macbeth commits murder, I think that this is important because it makes you think that the witches mean to do evil and that they have an evil influence over Macbeth. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    What dramatic techniques are used in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’.

    3 star(s)

    Almost instantly after the witches predict Macbeth is coming, Macbeth makes his first entrance in the play, he says "So foul and fair a day I have not seen".

  2. Malory's Magical Medieval Women - The Role and Importance of Women in Le Morte ...

    Morgan le Fay plays a very important role in the politics of Malory's work. She is a very powerful woman, and uses her power to manipulate the men around her. Filled with visions of grandeur, she planned to kill Arthur and take over the Kingdom.

  1. The Importance of the Witches In Macbeth

    courageousness in Duncan's army, and has been rewarded for this bravery by his King. Macbeth is told that he will receive this by King Duncan in his castle at Inverness- this being a great honour. When Macbeth sees that the second prediction has come true, it makes the last prediction

  2. Discuss the role of the witches in Macbeth your essay refer to Shakespeare's use ...

    good and evil will be indistinguishable. Later in the play where Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to "Look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under it" In act one scene one the witches are in an uninhabited place far from civilisation.

  1. Discuss the dramatic importance of the witches in Macbeth

    In this play, there are 5 main dramatic techniques. Firstly, there's pathetic fallacy. This is used to create an atmosphere by the use of weather. For instance, in this play, it's used at the beginning of Act 1, Scene 1.

  2. How does Shakespeare adapt the holinshed chronicles to create an entertaining piece of theatre?

    It is widely believed that Shakespeare changed Duncan's character in a similar way to the other characters he portrayed differently than Holinshed - to cater to James I, the current King of England and Scotland.

  1. Discuss the importance of the witches and Supernatural to 'Macbeth'

    This plays on Macbeth's mind and the battle of good and evil. The audience would relate this to the temptation of Christ but Macbeth is losing the battle of good and evil, but decides at the end of the scene that he will let fate chose the path of the future.

  2. Discuss the importance of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's

    It is obvious from this to realise how easily the supernatural has affected her. She talks of how she wants the spirits to encourage her and make her as brave as a man by taking her feminine qualities away- " Come to my woman's breasts, and take my milk for gall."

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