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Macbeth - how characters were viewed in Shakespearse's time.

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Macbeth In Shakespeare's time withces were not viewed in the same way we see them. People beleived they were dangerous and in league with the Devil. They were out to harm good people. By having the witches in the play Shakespeare is creating a feeling in the audience that something bad is going to happen. They cannot be there for a good purpose. We want to know what they want with Macbeth and once we find out we want to know if he will follow them or follow the path of good. Shakespeare sets the opening scene on a heath, with a storm. This helps create a sense of foreboding. ...read more.


So it is a matter of tension when she is persuading him to do evil. Before he does the murder there is the strange scene with the dagger, and again as he makes his way to do the killing, he talks about night and evil creatures stalking the world. During the murder scene it is very tense as Lady Macbeth thinks thye have been caught. Then Macbeth returns and they talk in quick, short snatches (staccato- a term from music which expresses the way they talk as he descends from doing the killing). Then there is the whole business of the knocking at the door and Macbeth beginning to lose his grip. ...read more.


Finally, on a more practical level, they literally provide a change of scene and of tempo to keep the audience interested. People in Shakespeare's time would view them quite differently to a modern audience because most people believed in witches. You ask if they are important. Macbeth is the one who listens to and acts on their advice so he is partly to blame for his own downfall. Lady Macbeth really encourages Macbeth to kill Duncan and she actively helps him to cover his tracks so she is partly responsible for starting him on the path of evil too. The witches help a great deal in the creation of an atmosphere of evil and a sense of events running out of control. ...read more.

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