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Shakespeare and Witchcraft.

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Introduction

Shakespeare and Witchcraft. The first scene of "Macbeth" is very short and abrupt, but is a very important scene. It is set in a desolate place, and in very bad weather " Thunder and lightning". This helps to set the atmosphere of evil and of the supernatural, because bad weather is connected with witches and evil. The first two lines of the scene already show the fondness of the Weird Sisters for bad weather, and its relevance to the witches. They then go on to say "when the hurly- burlys done When the battles lost or won". This is because the battle between the Scottish and Norwegians is raging in the background. The turbulent weather echoes this turmoil, and hints at the chaos to come. They then arrange to meet on the heath. A heath is very much like a wilderness so, again, the witches have been connected to a desolate place. "There to meet with Macbeth" The witches refer to Macbeth before the audience have seen him so Macbeth is singled out by the witches because there is something about him they recognise. They arrange to meet him in a desolate place, again suggesting the supernatural's influence. Shakespeare then adds another example of the witches' connections with the Devil. "I come, Graymalkin" "Paddock calls" These are both familiars, which are creatures, like an animal or bird, given to the witches, by the Devil. In return for this, he would suck the witches' blood, leaving the Devils' mark. The audience would have known this so seeing this it would reinforce their credibility. The scene finishes with the witches leaving saying "Fair is foul, and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air". Again, this shows the disturbances in the natural world, unnatural acts are occurring. "Hover through the fog and filthy air", describes the witches ability to fly. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" shows that to the witches, what is good to normal people is bad to them and what is bad to normal people is good to them. ...read more.

Middle

(Act 3 Scene 1, lines 49-53) Macbeth is planning the murder of Banquo because Banquo is a powerful Thane and could threaten Macbeth's position as King and he is the only one that knows of the witches' prophesy. Macbeth explains to Lady Macbeth that they must hide their intentions and seem to be welcoming to him. It is troubling him, because he must kill Fleance too. The witches said that Banquo's children would be kings, so Macbeth must kill him. "Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown, His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecare's summons The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done A deed of dreadful note." (Act 3 Scene 2, lines 41-44) Macbeth does not tell Lady Macbeth about the plans to kill Banquo. She does not know what he intends to do. He makes reference to the powers of darkness again by saying, "Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rowse." Macbeth is taking total control of the murder of Banquo. Lady Macbeth is told to let him sort it out. He has lost his compassion and now thinks nothing of murdering. He is totally responsible for the murder. When Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost he is unnerved by it. Lady Macbeth attempts to calm him down. When the ghost leaves Macbeth regains his composure and reassures the Thanes and proposes a toast. On seeing the ghost reappear he bursts into violent language and commands him away. Macbeth incriminates himself. The reaction of the Thanes is of disbelief. Then Lady Macbeth orders the Thanes to leave. Macbeth vows to visit the witches again to see his future, swearing that from now on there is no turning back. "I am in blood Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er." (Act 3 Scene 4, lines 136-138) ...read more.

Conclusion

"This way, my Lord; the castle's gently rendered." (Act 5 Scene 7, lines 25) Macbeth remaining servants and soldiers open the gates of the castle and let the forces of Malcolm in. this is their final betrayal. Macbeth has completely lost the respect and loyalty of those men whom he once led so courageously into battle. Facing Macduff, Macbeth boasts that no naturally born man can kill him, but Macduff reveals his own caesarean birth. Dismayed, Macbeth refuses to fight. Macduff threatens that he will be exhibited in captivity. "Despair thy charm, And let the angle whom thou still hast served Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb Untimely ripped." (Act 5 Scene 8, lines 13-16) Macduff was born by a caesarean section, which is not a natural birth. It is at point Macbeth realises, to his horror, that the Weird Sisters had planned his downfall. "And be these juggling fiends no more believed That palter with us in a double sense, That keeps the word of promise to our ear And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee." (Act 5 Scene 8, lines 18-21) Macbeth knows he should not have trusted the devil's weird sister, but he allowed them to push him beyond human security. Macbeth felt a rare sensation of fear when Macduff revealed he was not naturally born. However Macbeth is determined to fight to the death, and is killed by Macduff. The death of Macbeth returns stability to Scotland. The powers of darkness are overcome. Macbeth relied too much on the Weird Sisters and believed too much in his invincibility. By trusting the Weird Sisters he threw away his potential to be a great leader. He was a brave and courageous man and he inspired men. By the end of the play he had lost respect from everyone, and had become a hated and feared tyrant. Macbeth's major flaw was his ambition and greed. If the Weird Sisters had not encouraged that ambition Macbeth would not have been a murderous villain and dictator. They had a very powerful influence upon him. Jennifer Hornsby 11:2 1 ...read more.

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