• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

presentation of witches in macbeth

Extracts from this document...


Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1606 during the reign of King James I. This infernal play tells the story of a man who commits regicide in order to gain power himself. Not only does this drama deal with the age-old morality tale of good versus evil but it also deals with what is right and what is wrong. In this essay I will discuss and analyze Shakespeare's presentation of the witches in Macbeth. At this time witchcraft was feared and it was seen as a real threat. The witches did not fear Christ and this meant they basically had no fear that was outside the moral, religious and social boundaries of 17th century Britain. Catholics in England were seen as outsiders, hated and seen as a threat, this was a lot like the position of witches. Witchcraft was also used as an excuse for bad happenings like natural disasters or deaths. It was usually old women who lived on their own who got accused of being a witch. Many believed accusing these single women was a way of discouraging women from living alone outside the authority of a male-dominated household. Men wanted masculine superiority to remain unchecked. ...read more.


Here the witches heighten the sense of mystery in the play by confusing the audience by dealing with opposites. This rounds off the spooky scene with a dramatic ending. In Act One, Scene Three the witches also enter to thunder as they meet again as planned. It is not as dramatic and there is no lightning but evil and fear is still present. One of the witches talks about getting revenge on a sailor by killing him. King James I believed the witches attempted to kill him with makes it relevant to the King. Macbeth and Banquo are introduced in this scene. Macbeth comments on the day by saying "so fair and foul a day I have not seen." Then Banquo notices the "so withered, and so wild in their attire" witches with beards and is utterly shocked. Macbeth then asks them "What are you?" and he is also horrified. The witches then together say a verse hailing Macbeth, flattering him sarcastically. The witches talk in riddles and say make some confusing comments like, "Less than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier." The characters of the witches are still quite mysterious but in this scene they have shown some emotions that support the view that they are evil, as they involve murdering and other terrible things. ...read more.


The witches' dramatic rituals reinforce their sisterhood as they speak together and work together. They are completely original and together they are isolated from the rest of society but they have each other. The rhyming couplets help make the chant more flowing. The witches also say, "I'll give thee a wind." This suggests the witches can control the weather and the natural environment. The witches in these plays are warning King James I that witches can manipulate people to kill the King even though he is saw as untouchable. Shakespeare allows the audience to see that the witches do have this influence and they can cause evil through other people with Macbeth being an example. The witches tie in with the established idea that women could be harmful to men at this time as they have the power of manipulation. I think the witches work very well in Macbeth. They create fear and drama throughout the play. They can be linked with terrorists in our society today. Terrorists are now feared and they have the power to get their own way because of their evil to a certain extent. Women were seen as a threat in the 17th century as witches were usually women now Muslims are scene as a threat as a lot of terrorists are Muslims. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays


    going into a cauldron whilst the witches are chanting.) There must be a reason for the witches' current behaviour which is bound to be shown in the rest of the play. If I were directing Macbeth and had to present the witches in the opening scene I would keep them

  2. Shakespeare and Witchcraft.

    Lennox does in fact mention that the night has been bad: "The night has been unruly: where we lay, Our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say, Lamentings heard i'th'air, strange screams of death And prophesying with accents terrible Of dire combustion and confused events, New hatched to th'woeful time.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work