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Discuss the Part Played By the Witches In Macbeth. What influence do they have on events and what do they contribute to the atmosphere and the dramatic impact on the play?

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Introduction

Discuss the part played by the witches in MACBETH. What influence do they have on events and what do they contribute to the atmosphere and the dramatic impact on the play? In the story of Macbeth, the witches have a significant role in the unfolding story and the atmosphere that constantly surrounds them sets a very significant and idiosyncratic setting and feeling within the play. I also believe that the witches play an immense part in how Macbeth regards his life. At the very beginning the witches are gathered together and introduce the play. In this first scene, we see is three old witches, beneath a sky heavy with: "Thunder, rain and lightning" Weather in which ordinary people would not usually want to associate themselves with. This could suggest that the play is a very dark, dangerous and disturbing one where witches prophesise and distribute evil. We do not know if the witches are human and therefore a feeling of uncertainty would be felt about the good/evil nature of them. They are also speaking in rhyming couplets, which tends to be almost hypnotic in nature and suggests that they are speaking as one. There are also complete contradictions in the opening scene, which gives the play an uncertain ambiance and makes the reader feel that only the witches themselves know what they talking about. ...read more.

Middle

We begin to wonder if they are now in some way influencing Macbeth or are were they just mocking him? We do not know this yet but when the witches appear to Macbeth later on it is important to notice how he perceives them when he sees them. When he and Banquo do see them for the first time the reactions are very different and maybe give us a little more detail into how Macbeth and the witches are connected in some way. Banquo's description of the witches is important in seeing how unnatural they are: they seem to be women but are not. It is Banquo who thinks they are evil: "What! Can the devil speak true?" Macbeth on the other hand does not. So when the witches predict to Macbeth and Banquo their futures, there are two very different reactions. Note how keen Macbeth is to hear more of this "strange intelligence". "Would they have stayed!" This is exactly what he wants to hear and this can only be because they have touched a nerve already present in Macbeth. Banquo's warning to Macbeth concerning the witches ("instruments of darkness") might also be seen as prophetic- Macbeth is betrayed as a result of believing these 'truths', and he comes to realise this in his final confrontation with Macduff. Soon after this we see the witches' impeccable sense of timing as just after they leave, Macbeth receives word that he is to become the 'Thane of Cowdor'! ...read more.

Conclusion

There can be no definitive answer. Suffice to say, they embody a malign and demonic intelligence. This, of necessity, is fixed and elemental. Their information does tempt Macbeth but it must be remembered: they do not invite him to murder Duncan or even suggest such a thing. Information is morally neutral until human beings begin to interpret it. Thus, they symbolise evil, but man is free to resist them. Macbeth is tragic, partly because he comes to depend upon their information. In conclusion, I think that the witches do have some power over him but only in triggering of the emotions and ambitions deep inside Macbeth and that it is Macbeth himself who then interprets these feelings into the course of action in the play. Therefore they do play a part in sending Macbeth to his doom. I think that the witches always knew Macbeth was going to die and wanted to torment and 'play' 3with him before it happened. I think that the witches make the play a mysterious and hard to spot reality and fantasy, I also think that this is used to good effect by showing us that power doesn't necessarily leads to happiness as Macbeth proved. A great warrior, fearless, unmerciful and brutal can suddenly be afraid of killing someone for fear of the aftershocks in the future. The witches teach Macbeth not to take anything for granted and that ambition is a dangerous emotion to enclose. ?? ?? ?? ?? G.C.S.E. ENGLISH COURSEWORK HENRY FRANCE 11AW ...read more.

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