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In this essay I am going to focus on what role the witches have in the play, Macbeth. I will also analyse Shakespeare's dramatic presentation of the Weird Sisters.

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Introduction

Discuss the role of the witches in Macbeth William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden sometime in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. There is no record of his date of birth, but his baptism was recorded by the church, and his birthday is assumed to be on the 23 April. William attended the local grammar school in Stratford where his parents lived, but did not go onto Oxford or Cambridge. In 1582, at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a local farmer's daughter. Their first daughter, Susanna was born the next year in 1583, and twins Judith and Hamnet were born in 1585. Shakespeare's life can be divided into three periods: the first 20 years in Stratford, which include his schooling, early marriage, and fatherhood; the next 25 years as an actor and playwright in London; and the last five in retirement back in Stratford where he enjoyed reasonable wealth gained from his theatrical successes. Shakespeare probably left school at 15, which was normal, and took some sort of job, since this was the period of his father's financial difficulty. At some point, Shakespeare began his career with a London theatrical company, thought to be around the late 1580s. Shakespeare apparently wrote and acted for Pembroke's Men, as well as numerous others, in particular Strange's Men, which later became the Chamberlain's Men, with whom he remained for the rest of his career. Amid all of his success, Shakespeare suffered the loss of his only son, Hamnet, who died in 1596 at the age of 11. But Shakespeare's career continued, and in London in 1599, he became one of the partners in the new Globe Theatre, built by the Chamberlain's Men. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and was succeeded by her cousin King James of Scotland, the Chamberlain's Men was renamed the King's Men. He invested in London real estate and, one year away from retirement, purchased a second theatre, the Blackfriars Gatehouse, in partnership with his fellow actors. ...read more.

Middle

The prophecies affect Macbeth's actions dramatically from being a brave, loyal soldier to an evil murderer. Duncan has complete trust and faith in Macbeth and even Macbeth expresses his loyalty to the King, lying to Duncan is totally out of the ordinary for Macbeth and he never would have done it if he hadn't heard the prophecies from the Witches. This already shows the importance of the meeting with the Witches and the evil they have spread through his mind. It isn't only Macbeth's actions that have been affected, Lady Macbeth fears that he is too good-natured to kill Duncan and she decides to use all her powers to persuade him. He keeps trying to get out of it and make excuses but Lady Macbeth orders that he goes through with it and that everything will end happily once this is done. She bribes him saying things like they will have total power over the land and nothing could possibly go wrong. Even though Macbeth had already started thinking about murdering Duncan he still had doubts over it and was deeply troubled by what could happen if he killed the King. He considers Duncan's virtues and the powerful reasons for not committing the crime. So the prophecies didn't completely turn Macbeth evil but it gradually did with the help of Lady Macbeth. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth worries about Banquo's loyalty and decides that it would be best if he got him murdered as well even though he is a good friend. Another reason Macbeth decides Banquo to be murdered is because he remembers the Witches' other prophecies about Banquo's descendants will be kings too. This is when the evil side of Macbeth really comes out. He lies to the two murderers called in about Banquo always being their enemy and they have every reason to hate him. He explains to them that it would be difficult for him simply to have Banquo executed as he has no valid reason and he is too popular. ...read more.

Conclusion

With Banquo, he got him murdered as he thought he was a danger and after this murder he concludes that evil deeds need to be backed up by further crimes. Macbeth didn't even tell Lady Macbeth about the murder of Banquo or even the murder of Macduff's family so it lies all down to him. The Witches started all this bloodshed off I think and they were the ones who interfered with the order of the kingdom. They didn't need to interrupt, but they chose to predict Macbeth's and Banquo's futures, these three Witches were the ones who started Macbeth off on his evil deeds and had a very large part in the downfall of Macbeth. The first predictions weren't the last, when Macbeth came to them; they tricked Macbeth into thinking that he was safe and guaranteed to live until natural death. So with these reasons and more I think Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the Witches were all to blame for Macbeth's downfall and not just one person could be the culprit. The inclusion of the Witches has reinforced Macbeth's evil nature and the importance of loyalty and order in the kingdom as the Witches are seen to have an evil nature anyway and they are abnormal to the kingdom, which has disrupted the order of it. In every scene the Witches have been created in an evil atmosphere and this has helped to believing that they created evil in Macbeth in the first place. The Witches changed Macbeth's thinking and he was one of the most loyal to Duncan, but when the Witches came his loyalty faded quickly and his greed came first. If there is no loyalty and order in the kingdom then it is surely to struggle as a successful one. The evil Macbeth, along with the Witches, has changed everything in the kingdom to what it was with Duncan and the nature of Macbeth was made out to be the making of the Witches. This is why they were included as they produced more evil and gave a wicked atmosphere to the play. ...read more.

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