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DISCUSS THE PRESENTATION OF THE WITCHES IN "MACBETH". EXPLORE HOW THEY REFLECT SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT WITCHES IN SHAKESPEARE'S TIME AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON MACBETH.

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Introduction

Jenna Bashir 11JE Macbeth-English Coursework DISCUSS THE PRESENTATION OF THE WITCHES IN "MACBETH". EXPLORE HOW THEY REFLECT SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT WITCHES IN SHAKESPEARE'S TIME AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON MACBETH. Act 1 Scene 1 gives us our first impressions of the Witches. In Polanski and the stage play a definite atmosphere is created in the opening scene, when the witches plan to meet Macbeth when the fighting has finished and the battle is won. The first line in the play, Act 1 Scene 1 Line 1, the first witch says "when shall we three meet again?" I think the reason Shakespeare chose this as his first line because it immediately lets the audience know the three witches are plotting something. The dramatic opening is very short but gets straight to the point. To the witches what is good is evil as a result in act1 scene 1 line 11 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair' would seem like a warning that things are not what they seem to be and this creates an uncertain atmosphere again. The last line of the quotation is an example of alliteration because Shakespeare imitates the thickness and filthiness of the fog if not atmosphere by using words with f and th sounds. The reason being for Shakespeare having thunder and lightning present when the witches first entered as a stage direction in his play, "thunder and lightning. Enter three witches". Thunder and Lightning has long been associated with evil because powerful forces are released and for many centuries there was no explanation for it. The three witches always speak as if plotting what to do to their next victim and are very careful where they meet and that they are only seen by their victims. This point is proved and undoubtedly obvious when they are only seen in the play in unsociable hours. In the Polanski version of Macbeth before the witches enter the settings and sound affects created an evil and eerie atmosphere. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth's coldness and control is again shown when she begins to plot Duncan's murder with Macbeth, she says he should "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent underneath it", more advice on the killing of his king, and "leave the rest to me" shows how calm and evil Lady Macbeth is over the matter like she couldn't care less. Lady Macbeth also shows a more helpful side, offering help. "I poor my spirits in thine ear", which although seemingly providing a contrast to her cold hearted plotting earlier, is in fact another way in which she is convincing Macbeth to kill Duncan her words are sweet to Macbeth's ear, but are in fact rooted with evil, and this perhaps shows an "innocent flower" side to Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is the weak person in the relationship and we see how Lady Macbeth's influence has rubbed off on Macbeth's, as he says, "False face must hide what the false heart doth know", which is very similar to Lady Macbeth's words of the "innocent flower" earlier. All in all, in act one we see how Lady Macbeth has a power over Macbeth, she is cunning and calculated, and despite the fact that Macbeth is the seasoned warrior, she is the one who laughs at murder and Macbeth who declines. However we see her exert how power over Macbeth to make him want to murder Duncan, showing how the power in the first relationship is all in Lady Macbeth's court in the first act. Lady Macbeth shows her strength of conviction and will Act1 Scene 5 line 59 "we fail?"(Mockingly). "screw your courage to the sticking place-and we'll nit fail", Lady Macbeth makes Macbeth think that these words are really true, Lady Macbeth thinks that failing is impossible and if Macbeth fails he is weak and not worthy. She believes she has Macbeth wrapped round her finger and that the plan will be carried out by him. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Macbeth sees the final apparition it sparks fury deep in his heart against Banquo. Although the witches are not seen after this great presage, they are present in Macbeth's conscience. Macbeth eventually dies because he won't let go of his attachment to the witches' predictions. There is still the account of the "third" murderer that accompanies the other two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. Some say that the witches had a part in Fleance's escape. When Macbeth makes certain actions the witches are guiding him indirectly. Shakespeare stumbled onto a wonderfully ingenious area of psychology in the utilization of subconscious reflection. Every ounce of knowledge gathered from the witches persuades Macbeth to make his decisions accordingly. One might say that Macbeth was just an above average person with noble and exceptional characteristics, who fell victim to a tragic flaw. This can be noted by the many flights from reality Macbeth makes throughout the tragedy. From seeing the dagger in Act 2 Scene 1 to seeing Banquo's ghost in Act 3 Scene 4. Macbeth is a figure that we can sympathize with and bestow pity upon. I think Shakespeare included the witches mainly for King James I and also because many people in the audience in Victorian times would have believed witches existed and had powers, so this intrigued both the king and the audience into watching "Macbeth". Because the king believed that witches were evil and in league with the devil so did the common people of England. In Victorian times most people obviously believed that witches could do all sorts of things like disappear into thin air, fly on broomsticks, cause bad weather or storms, make people fall ill using spells and potions, and I think Shakespeare was just elaborating how dangerous witches could really be and how they could get you into all kinds of trouble. Shakespeare undoubtabely wrote the play to make the king happy and to basically show just how dangerous three female witches can really be. ...read more.

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