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In Shakespeare's Macbeth various devices are used to present the weird sisters as integral to the plot. In a modern context, are they still plausible figures?

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In Shakespeare's Macbeth various devices are used to present the weird sisters as integral to the plot. In a modern context, are they still plausible figures? "So wither'd and so wild in their attire, that look not like th'inhabitants o'th'earth, and yet are on't?" This description of the three weird sisters given by Banquo on first setting eyes on them creates an illusion of hell like hags; decayed and disfigured creatures. They are unnatural: they seem to be women but are not. It is Banquo who thinks they are evil: "What! Can the devil speak true?" Macbeth does not. Macbeth is intrigued by the sisters and later tells Lady Macbeth that he "burned in desire" to question them further. Macbeth asks the witches to stay showing he is interested in their predictions; "Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more." The sisters speak dangerous thoughts, the same perhaps already plaguing his mind. If their predictions were already thoughts in the back of Macbeth's mind, then the sisters lack power over him at this point. By examining the first conversation he has with Lady Macbeth on first returning home from battle, "And when goes hence", "tomorrow as he purposes" this could be seen as evidence of couple having discussed the downfall of Duncan on an earlier date. ...read more.


Regarding Macbeth, the weird sisters were his trigger. The evil does not come from anywhere else other than human nature. The sisters have not completely managed to corrupt Macbeth though. Both before and after Duncan's murder Macbeth shows signs that his own natural feelings are still present in his character and that the witches do not have total power over him. He is "foul" for the things that he has done but is somewhat "fair" as he still has a natural human conscience. Before the murder Macbeth thinks that it would be cruel to kill innocent Duncan: "Besides, this Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek", "Had I but died an hour before this chance I had lived a blessed time". His feelings about Duncan's murder are very similar to those about Banquo's murder although he only acted out the first himself. He is sick with worry and guilt about Banquo's murder, so much so he is turned to near madness by the bloody ghost of Banquo haunting him. On stage, Shakespeare sought to "......make the Witches actable and recognisable to his audience...."In Britain we either rationalise Witchcraft or mock it and we have the added problem of an audience having seen Macbeth a countless ...read more.


Personally it would not be plausible in my mind that they would be able to take the evil out of a man, who could do such terrible deeds. Perhaps a modern interpretation might be that it is genetics which control the way people make decisions; for if a director were to stage a futuristic Macbeth with the weird sisters as genetic engineers controlling the future, this would gain the desired effect on the audience; pure fear. Also, at the same time keeping up with stage fashions, test tube babies; the idea of creating humans unnaturally. For all our scientific rationality, modern society still acknowledges that there are forces we cannot explain. Some people believe in supernatural phenomenon; ghosts witches, evil forces; others would explain everything as from within the human mind; for example Lady Macbeth who generates the evil is already within Macbeth, therefore are just plot devices, there to release it from him. Even though they cause no first hand evil themselves, they evil that they thus create by delivering their riddle like prophecies is integral to the tragedy of Macbeth and without them "fair" would not be "foul" and "foul" would not be "fair". ...read more.

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