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How dramatically effective is Shakespeare's presentation of the witches in Macbeth?

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Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of the witches in Macbeth You should consider:- * Their function and importance in the play * The dramatic methods used by Shakespeare to present the witches * The reactions of other characters * Audience reaction, both then and now * (Shakespeare's language and dramatic techniques) * (The social, cultural and historical background of the play) How dramatically effective is the presentation? In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, there are three witches, known either as the weird sisters or just as witch one, witch two and with three. None have names, and this is so that no human bond or link is made between them and the audience, and this keeps the witches characters' very mysterious. The witches are often portrayed as old, ugly, and decrepit, but for effect they are also sometimes portrayed as young in differently styled versions of Macbeth. In Shakespeare's time witches were a common belief, and so for the audience of the play back then the witches would have represented something much more sinister than they do for audiences of Macbeth today. ...read more.


'Grey-Malkin' and 'Paddock' are referred to in the first scene, and these are names for animals that the witches keep as companions. 'Grey-Malkin' is a cat, and 'Paddock' is a toad. Turmoil in the play is suggested in numerous ways. Animals such as toads, snakes and birds of prey are mentioned, and this helps to create a threatening atmosphere. Also, after the death of Duncan the rules of nature seem to reverse, as owls kill Falcons and Duncan's horses turn wild, eventually eating each other. This highlights the fact that killing the innocent Duncan was wrong, and is also against the rules of nature, which therefore had an impact on nature in the rest of the play. Blood flow in the play is constant, as there is regular killing and bloodshed. Macbeth is in a rush to reach his ambition and prediction of the witches, and so has little time for being patient, while being led by the witches. The witches next appear in Act 1 Scene 3, and they discuss their plot to torment a sea-captain whose wife had insulted them. ...read more.


Ingredients such as 'adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting' are added, and these bits of animals and also humans 'Liver of blaspheming Jew' symbolise the vicious behaviour of the witches. During the making of the 'gruel' the witches chant in rhyme, to sound magic, but in the rest of the play they speak in verse as well. Lady Macbeth interprets the witches as real and is keen for Macbeth to follow their guidance and advice. She convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan, whereas without her it is unlikely that Macbeth would have killed Duncan, due to his doubt. Some plays interpret Lady Macbeth as a fourth witch, who convinces Macbeth to act upon the witches words. Macbeth is influenced by the witches, but the base for his deeds was already inside him to start with. The witches merely brought out his potential for evil by giving him audacity to fulfil his wishes. The witches merely tempted the wishes out of Macbeth by telling him that it was possible, and so Macbeth was responsible for his own downfall. A conclusion is needed. I will write it over Christmas. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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