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`Examine the role in the witches in "Macbeth"

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`Examine the role in the witches in "Macbeth" In Shakespearian England witches were said to be in league with the devil. Shakespearian audience believed that witches were always up to no good and people thought they were wicked and devious. Old, Single or widowed women (who often kept pets for a companion) were often blamed as being witches and their pets were kept as servants. In those times people blamed any unexplained happenings such as bad weather, gone off food, deadly diseases, deaths of livestock and even murders. Despite this people were still fascinated by witchcraft they went to see horrifying plays just like we in modern days go to the cinema to watch horror films. Shakespeare wrote a play about witches to please King James 1, he was on the throne at the time when the play was written. King James wrote a book about witchcraft called Demonology because he was fascinated about witchcraft. Shakespeare knew he would win the king over by making a play like this. The witches were only in 3 scenes in Macbeth but they influence the atmosphere across the whole play. In the opening scene the audience would be thrilled because the witches created a theatrical atmosphere. The atmosphere was very negative because there was terrible weather "thunder and lightning" this would make the scene very frightening because of the loud noises of the lightning. ...read more.


"There's husbandry in heaven their candles are all out" the dark represents evil and negativity which could be seen as a warning of trouble to come (foreshadowing). Macbeth's original fear is demonstrated in his hallucinations after his immoral act of murdering. Macbeth shows signs of possessions "me thought I heard a voice say sleep no more" He says I thought I heard voices". Macbeth shows he feels guilty by saying "amen stuck in my throat" he says this to show how he felt and whether he was regretting of the crime he just commit. The witches powers were demonstrated by strange happenings for example "tis' said they eat each other" this was said because horses started eating each other which was very unusual and peculiar. This information was in the play to horrify the audience. Act 4 scene 1 begins with the witches chanting this reminds me of a spell. The witches always use trochaic tetrameter the effect of that makes it sound like a chant. The ingredients have unpleasant things in common for example animal parts and poisons. The most horrible point in the spell was "finger of a birthstrangled babe, ditch deliver'd by a slab" this means a baby born in a ditch from a prostitute strangled at birth. ...read more.


The witches introduce the theme of deception in the opening scene act 1 scene 1 where they say "fair is foul and foul is fair" this affects not only Macbeth but all the characters this is shown when lady Macbeth says "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it". Later on Macbeth realises he has to be deceitful in order to succeed he says "false face must hide what the false heart doth know". The witches talk in riddles when they say "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam to high dunsinare hill shall come against him" Macbeth misunderstands this he thought this was impossible that the forest will come to his castle but the soldiers cut down the trees and bring the forest to the castle Macbeth is dumbfounded. Shakespeare creates typical witches to scare the audience the type of witches that fly, induce nightmares and stop people from sleeping. The witches predict the future but Macbeth thinks they are telling him what to do he then shows demonic possessions "I had almost forgot the taste of fear" Macbeth showed lack of fear. Shakespearian audience would go to see Macbeth to get a thrill for entertainment just like we nowadays go to the cinema to watch a horror film. The witches create an atmosphere of evil throughout the whole play. ...read more.

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