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

Examine the dramatic impact and significance of the witches in Macbeth

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Macbeth -By William Shakespeare Examine the dramatic impact and significance of the witches in Macbeth. The first scene of the play is anything but calm. There are three evil and unnatural looking witches meeting on an isolated moor. Before any of the witches speak there is a bolt of lightening and thunder sounds. There is a misty fog and it is dark. Although there is nothing to indicate it here, the witches are far from a pleasant sight. They are not dressed in a normal fashion. "What are these, So wither'd and so wild in their attire, That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth, And yet are on't? Live you?" Neither do they look femine. "You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so" This is Banquo's reaction on seeing them later on. -Their appearance startles and puzzles him, as it would the audience in the first scene. When the witches speak, it is in rhymes and riddles. "When hurlyburly's done, When battle's lost and won" There are contradictions and alliteration. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air" They mention animals: greymalkin meaning grey cat and paddock meaning toad. ...read more.

Middle

They wouldn't state facts. It is thought that this scene could have been added because the audience liked the witches or there was an actor who wanted a part. Hecate has again been added in Act 4, Scene 1. What she says has no relevance to the scene what so ever. It has obviously been slotted in. Act 4, Scene 1 is set on a moor in a cave. The three witches are standing around a cauldron making a potion. All the ingredients the witches are adding were poisonous, or known to be so by Elizabethans. Macbeth enters. He has not learnt from his previous experience with the witches and again tries to command them. They decide to play along, probably to make him think he is powerful. 1st witch: "speak" 2nd witch: "demand" 3rd witch: "we'll answer" Macbeth hears the prophecies of the witches' masters. 1st Apparition: "beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of fife" At this he says he had suspected it. 2nd Apparition: "none of a woman born Shall harm Macbeth" 3rd Apparition: "Macbeth shall never vanuish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him" What Macbeth doesn't realise is that the second and third apparitions' words are not as they seemed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first is that they did seem to speak the truth. The second is that they told him what he wanted to hear. People do pick and chose what they want to believe to a certain extent. For example I suspect that most people believe in heaven or reincarnation not because it is realistic or logical but because it is nice to comfort yourself with the thought that when you die that is not it: the end. -Something else follows. Many would like to believe it. Macbeth and the witches both have power but in very different ways. Macbeth's is just a title, a position whereas the witches are all seeing, all-powerful and can manipulate people's lives. They play with people, to them it is just a game, something they seem to do for their own amusement. There is quite a transformation in Macbeth. At first he is weak. "Yet I do fear thy nature: It is too full o' the milk of human-kindness To catch the nearest way" He then lusts after position and power. He was so in love with Lady Macbeth at the beginning and cared about what she thought but he doesn't even seem bothered when she dies. Seuton: "The queen, my lord, is dead" Macbeth: "She should have died hereafter" Aisling Knight 10.4 21st March 2000 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. Examine The Dramatic Significance Of The Theme 'fair Is Foul' In Macbeth

    If their predictions were already thoughts in the back of Macbeth's mind, then the witches don't have very much power over him at this point. Ross and Angus soon arrive with the news that Duncan has made Macbeth Thane of Cawdor: "He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor."

  2. What is the Significance of the Witches in Macbeth?

    This is a technique known as delayed revelation because the audience is forced to wait to see something or find something out. The way the witches talk shows the evil they have "in thunder, lightning or in rain". These are all nasty, unpleasant types of weather and because they like

  1. Lady Macbeth’s descent into madness and finally suicide are richly deserved, discuss

    of King Duncan's murder; obviously this had been a burden on her thoughts. This all whilst sleepwalking. The doctor and gentlewoman do not infer her actions to be a confession; they decide she needs spiritual and not physical help. 'This disease is beyond my practise,' is the doctor's reaction.

  2. What contribution do the Witches make to the play Macbeth?

    After the Witches disappear, Macbeth is greeted with the news that he is to be Thane of Cawdor and his mind begins to work, as he knows `the greatest is behind' showing that the Witches evil is beginning to work in his mind.

  1. What is the role and dramatic significance of the witches in Macbeth?

    This immediately gets the audience's attention and it sets the scene for the play. The witches are talking in a type of poetry, (chanting) That would have stunned audiences back then. They probably would have never heard language like that when watching or reading any other play.

  2. Examine the Dramatic Significance of the Theme 'Fair Is Foul' In Macbeth.

    that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature?" Maybe this vulnerability suggests that Macbeth is not wholly evil. Although we only see the witches once more in the play, they are always present in Macbeth's

  1. What is the dramatic impact of the witches in

    From now on in the play Macbeth is under the witches' spell. Although the witches have a small part in the play, even with Act3, Sc5 and Act4, Sc11, Lines 39-43, being added after Shakespeare wrote this- due to the witches' popularity-, they are always in the thoughts of Macbeth- and probably the audience too.

  2. In the play MACBETH, what is the dramatic significance of the witches?

    So we know that it is hard to distinguish what sex they are. We also know that they look un-human because Banquo says they "look not like th' inhabitants o' th' earth," We can tell that the witches dress very strangely because Banquo tells us that the witches are "So withered, and wild in their attire".

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