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Examine the roles of the witches in 'Macbeth'. How might a modern audience or director interpret the witches differently from the Elizabethans?

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MACBETH GCSE COURSEWORK EXAMINE THE ROLES OF THE WITCHES IN 'MACBETH'. HOW MIGHT A MODERN AUDIENCE OR DIRECTOR INTERPRET THE WITCHES DIFFERENTLY FROM THE ELIZABETHANS? In the Elizabethan times, the people believed in witches and witchcraft. They were described as ugly and evil. Nowadays the people would not believe in them. The people in the Elizabethan times would be very scared of witches. This was equivalent to the people of nowadays being frightened about terrorists. The people thought that they were powerful beings. They thought that they would cast spells on them; they thought that the witches were the ones that influenced the weather and also someone's personality. They were most likely to be old women with moles on their body. If the people wanted to find out if someone was a witch or not, they would tie the woman onto a ducking stool and then place them under the water for along time. If the people saw that the woman was dead they would definitely be relieved, as the woman would not be a witch. If the woman survived for a long time in the water then the people would take the woman out and then burn them or they would hang them. For people to be terrified by witches was very common. This was very good for William Shakespeare because then he could make the play much more frightening. This would be equivalent to a horror film nowadays. ...read more.


The two characters that meet the witches are Macbeth and Banquo. When they met the witches, both of them had different views about them. When Macbeth sees the witches he says, "Speak if you can: what are you?" Macbeth believed in the predictions that the witches made and he took it very seriously. On the other hand Banquo takes it more lightly as it would not affect him, it would affect his children. The audience in the Elizabethan times would favour Macbeth more than Banquo as Macbeth takes the witches much more seriously. Nowadays, not many people would believe in witches and witchcraft and so would not believe in the spells and predictions. The people nowadays would favour Banquo. Banquo and the people of nowadays would agree that the predictions are not true. He has a dream and he starts to believe in the witches, "To you they have show'd some truth" This shows that Banquo's views seem to change. Macbeth starts to take the witches much more seriously when he finds out that their predictions are coming true. There is a lot of dramatic impact in the play. The drama includes the battles in the beginning when the Norwegians try to take over Scotland; the murders of king Duncan and Banquo; the hallucination that Macbeth sees with the dagger, which is full of blood and it, is taking him towards killing king Duncan; and the witches with their spells and the predictions. ...read more.


A modern director might portray the witches the same way that the directors in the Elizabethan times would have except that the part of the witches would be played by real characters. They might use special effects to show witches disappear. A modern audience would react differently after watching the play. They would not believe in witches because they know that it has been proven that witches don't exist. A modern audience would not react to the play as if it was a horror film but they would think of the play as being very good and interesting. They would watch it for entertainment and the special effects would have dramatic impact on the audience. The impact on the audience would change over the years. The people would not believe in it because they will know that it is proven that witches don't exist which is why the reaction of the audience would change over time. There were a lot of differences between Elizabethan and modern interpretations of the witches. The director in the Elizabethan times would make the witches wear costumes, and they would try to make them scary for the audience. The audience in the Elizabethan time would be scared as they thought witches were real, whereas a modern audience would not think of it as a horror film but as an interesting story. Mohammad A. Khalid 5LE ...read more.

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