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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 In the opening scene of the 1978 stage version of Macbeth the first impressions we get of the witches are that they look strange as well as intimidating because of their facial expressions. The director has used stage lights to focus on the three witches, by doing this the effect is has is that it makes the witches look powerful and in control. The director has also produced a stereotypical view of witches as they are dressed in black and are chanting and cackling. By doing this it makes us think that the witches are up to no good and dangerous, as these are a few things we sometimes associate with witches. By using thunder, lightning and rain in the opening scene this lets us know that there could be trouble ahead in the play, as it represents danger to come or trouble already present, for example, the witches may be cursing someone. The atmosphere set for the rest of the play is tense and curiosity as you feel because of the short event that has already been seen in the opening scene will have a bad reflection in the rest of the play. ...read more.


In Act 1 scene 3 one of the witches talks about how she has caused bad weather and put a curse on a sailor, 'Shall he dwindle, peak and pine. Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.' This proves to the audience that they did put curses on people and could cause bad weather. Some of the other superstitions about witches were that they had a contract with the devil, who gave the witches demonic powers. People thought that witches could predict the future. As they say in Act 1 scene 3, 'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter.' and 'Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail Macbeth and Banquo.' Here the witches greet Macbeth with the prediction that he will be made Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland. People believed that witches could communicate with the dead and raise evil spirits by boiling up nauseating ingredients into a sickening brew. People believed that witches could fly, cause fogs and storms as well as kill animals. People also believed that witches could become invisible at their own will or astonishingly disappear. In act 1 scene 1 the witches disappear after talking to Macbeth and Banquo. Banquo says, 'The Earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them; whither are they vanished?' ...read more.


If the witches hadn't uttered a word of their thoughts to anyone, especially Macbeth, none of this bloodshed would've occurred. If someone told you that something life changing was going to happen to you, this revelation would stay on your mind, and you would naturally do something to make it happen faster. This is most probably why Macbeth and Lady Macbeth acted in the way they did. I think Shakespeare included witches in his play because at the time most of the people believed that witches existed and had powers. If he showed the witches doing the things they had done in the play, which was disappearing, making predictions and essentially leading people onto the path of evil, people would've believed that the witches were capable of doing these things. By showing all this in the play, it only confirmed people's thoughts about witches. It also made the play more affective as people would've only turned around and said something like, 'Well, it was all down to those witches, no surprise there.' People 'knew' that witches existed and to put them in the play and give them such a role would've got people interested in the play as it was shocking to see them disappear in the air etc. It would've brought many people to see the play as it would've been telling people that their thoughts and suspicions about witches was right all along. ...read more.

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