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How did the 'evil' in witches and Lady Macbeth affect Macbeth?

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Introduction

How did the 'evil' in witches and Lady Macbeth affect Macbeth? 'Macbeth' was written by William Shakespeare in 1606 when a large majority of people were interested in witches and witchcraft. So that is why Shakespeare has made the witches and witches' prophecies plat an essential role in the storyline of the play, 'Macbeth.' At that time witches were not thought to be supernatural beings, but supposedly gained their powers by selling their souls to the Satan, and were then instructed and controlled by "familiar spirits." The English law recognises the practice of witchcraft among some people in 1604 and made a rule so that any one who practice witchcraft, help those who practice witchcraft or do any thing seriously unusual from the others can be penalised to death. But it was by no means unquestioned. There can be no doubt that most of the Shakespeare's audience would have believed in witches, and for the intention of the play, at least, Shakespeare also accepted their views. The three witches in 'Macbeth' are introduced right at the first scene of the first act and the brief opening scene give a sudden sense of horror, ambiguity and mystery. The writer uses this as a sign of things to come later, for witchcraft is one of the major themes of the play. The witches create an atmosphere of disorder, destruction and wickedness. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth, like a child who is easily guided agrees to murder the king Duncan. Lady Macbeth knows this and acts accordingly. Lady Macbeth is the dominating partner in the relationship between herself and her husband and this is shown in the soliloquy in the fifth scene of the first act. Although he can make the final decision in whether or not to kill king Duncan, he loves Lady Macbeth and wants to fulfil her wishes. It is clear that she can convince him on to do anything as long as she pushes the right button in. for example she questions Macbeth as, "Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act, and valour, As thou art in desire?" This is clearly a teasing comment on his manliness. King Duncan is invited to Macbeth's castle, and it is there that he will be killed as to the contrivance of Lady Macbeth. She encourages Macbeth to "look like th' innocent flower, But be a serpent under 't." In this sentence two imageries are employed by Shakespeare to convey the meaning effectively to the audience. One of it is animal imagery which represents the ferocious and cunning nature of the snake and other is a similie which beautifully compares the attitude of Macbeth with naive flower. Macbeth still has exception to their agreement but he can only wander as his wife prepare for "this night's great business." ...read more.

Conclusion

First was his best friend, Banquo and Macbeth broke the branch as soon as he grabbed it because his weight (ambition) was too much for that branch to hold. Second branch was his wife which broke and gave away to the next as soon as he reached it. Third was his own consent and it is the strongest of all, so he clung to it. But since he is heavier than the second branch, after he clasped the third branch the second branch (lighter) hit right in his right hand. So he was forced to hang with the left hand alone. However the force of gravity (the witches) was too great as his weight increased, making him to loose the grip and fall down finally. Lady Macbeth herself was untouched by evil thoughts at the beginning but she changes her mind right at hearing the news of the witches' prophecies; showing that she also has the evil intents deep inside her heart which can be triggered out with a small stimulus (compared to Macbeth's). The witches in the other end, just activated Macbeth's and his wife's potential to do evil things by producing prophecies which seem to be made half using their common sense and half with their prediction (which was proved to be correct). Assuming that witches know the characters of all the people very well we can say that the prophecies made by them are nothing but a finely crafted prediction. The skilful exploitation of Macbeth's "Vaulting ambition" by the witches and Lady Macbeth leads to his demise. ...read more.

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