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Macbeth Coursework How does Shakespeare present the witches in Act One Scenes One and Three and what is their role in the play? William Shakespeare was one of the world's most famous playwrights and poets. Shakespeare wrote many different types of plays however they all scent to mirror the social questions of the time. Similarly, Macbeth reflects the social fears of the 16th century. At the time there was a morbid and fevered fascination in witches and witchcraft. King James was as fascinated by witchcraft and alleged that a group of witches tried to kill him. In 1604, King James decreed that anyone found guilty of practising witchcraft should be executed. This caused fear and tension, pamphlets were printed and sold and Shakespeare's society became increasingly more fixated with witches. This influenced Shakespeare to write 'Macbeth' which is about greed, power, betrayal, bloodshed and horror. ...read more.


Shakespeare also uses a lot of alliteration to empathise the spell-like rhyming couplets, such as "fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air". The constant use of the letter "f" emphasises the spell-like rhythm and also adds to the creepy and eerie feeling. The witches express that they are supernatural by quoting "that will be ere set of sun", this indicates the witches are gifted with prophecy. They also demonstrate their strangeness by obeying their orders from their familiars calling them away. They say "I come graymalkin!" this shows that there is no natural order in the "chains of being". Therefore the witches' presence represents chaos caused by the breakdown in the natural order. The witches also indicate their supernatural and abnormalness by using paradoxical language. For example they state "so foul and fair a day" this highlights that the witches are creating a subversive environment. ...read more.


Also the use of imperative verbs shows urgency in his language. They have planted a "seed" with their prophecy. They say "which grain will grow". Their predicted that Macbeth will be "hailed" as "king hereafter" sparks his dangerous ambition. The witches evoke Macbeth's darkside be tempting him to fulfil his dreams of becoming king, a greater and more important person. They do not directly tell him to go and kill King Duncan, they state "All hail, Macbeth that shall be king thereafter" by saying this, the witches are telling Macbeth he can be a greater person. They plant a "seed" in his head and as this seed keeps growing so does his ambition of becoming increasingly powerful. The role of the witches therefore is to be a catalyst to Macbeth's tragic transformation. The witches are agents of temptation and create the necessary chaos. Shakespeare's use of stagecraft language and setting establish the witches' role and make them critical in Macbeth's tragic demise. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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