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Macbeth Essay How do Banquo, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth react to the prophecies of the witches? What impact does this have on the play as a whole? The opening scene in Macbeth is very effective, it is dramatic and used by Shakespeare to immediately grab the audience's attention. This scene sees three witches gather on a heath to discuss the main character Macbeth, before the audience even meet him. At that time it was particularly disturbing and exciting to see the witches on the stage because the supernatural was not only feared but also forbidden. James 1st, who was the king at that time, was so terrified and obsessed by the idea of the supernatural that not only did he write a book entitled 'Demonology' but he also made it a capital offence to be linked with witchcraft. People thought to be linked to it were punished by burning, hanging or drowning. This created an aura around the idea with people being too paranoid to discuss it openly. By associating the lead character, Macbeth so closely with the witches, Shakespeare was placing him outside the accepted behaviour of the time making the play a thrill to go and watch. When Banquo first sees the witches he is completely unafraid. He says, "Live you? Or are you aught that man may question?". He immediately confronts and insults them, asking them if they are actually real. He is not intimidated, but equally has no respect for them. ...read more.


She wants them to fill her with so much evil so that she is able to kill Duncan. She knows that what she is going to do would take more evil than a woman could ever have so she asks them to remove her femininity and take away all the good, kind, gentle qualities that make her a woman. She commands, "Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty." She wants to do this so much that she is even willing to call on these spirits for help. It is this strong desire that drives her so cleverly to persuade Macbeth. She accuses him of not being brave enough and says that he promised he would do it, so he must. She says, "I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me; I would while it was smiling in my face have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this." This is such a horrible image and proves what she is capable of. It means that she knows what it is like to love a baby because she has children but if she had promised she would kill it while it was smiling at her and while it needed her. ...read more.


Macbeth starts off the play as a respected conquering hero. Although he appears to have it all, he is ultimately destroyed by his obsession with power. He so desires to become king that he is willing to stop at nothing to achieve his ultimate dream. His belief in the witches' predictions leads him to commit the murders of his friends and his king. Although Macbeth comes up with the idea of murder it takes the persuasion of Lady Macbeth to put thought into action. He has the desire, she supplies the will. She leaves no room for doubt and any time he wavers she questions his courage until he feels he has no choice but to go through with it. Her sheer ruthlessness goes against everything a woman is supposed to be which was particularly shocking in that time. She has to suppress all feelings and this leads her to insanity and eventually causes her death. Banquo is the voice of reason and advises Macbeth to ignore the witches even though one of their predictions is that his children will become kings. Even though he does not believe the witches himself or act upon their predictions he is still indirectly affected by them when Macbeth has him murdered. I think that the witches' predictions touch the dark side of Macbeth's ambition and are the catalyst for him and his wife to carry out evil deeds. I think that it was up to the characters to choose their own destiny and the witches only planted the possibilities in their minds. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are solely responsible for their own actions. ...read more.

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