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Study Shakespeare’s use of the witches in the play. How far are the responsible for Macbeth’s actions?

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William Shakespeare's Macbeth Study Shakespeare's use of the witches in the play. How far are the responsible for Macbeth's actions? At the beginning of Shakespeare's, Macbeth we are introduced to three of the most influential people in the play. These three people are known as the witches. We first see the witches in a desolate area, were we see them performing a spell. This creates the sense of foreboding, which would intrigue the audience, and make them think about what kind of people the witches really are. The audience in Jacobean times would have felt uncomfortable with the idea of the witches because in those times people believed that witches were real and that they had supernatural powers which could harm mortal human beings from a distance. The idea of witches in Jacobean times was so influential that a law was passed by parliament, saying that anyone who was found practising witchcraft and was found guilty will immediately be killed. When we first see the witches they are casting a spell and one of the first lines that are spoken is, "Fair is foul and foul is fair" These words seem to contradict each other they show the play as being confusing. The words mean good is bad and bad is good. This would make the audience concentrate on the witches very carefully and make it look like if all as it seems to be? ...read more.


One of he prophecies has already come true, now Macbeth is thinking about the one where he is told he is going to be king. If that prophecy came true Macbeth would think that he would be the most luckiest man in the world but that is another part of the theme that is reality and illusion. When Macbeth and Banquo met the witches they also told him that he would be happy but no so happy. "Not so happy, yet much happier." This line brings in the idea of reality and illusion it means that Macbeth would be happy as the king but in his mind he will not be as happy as he seems to be. This is how Shakespeare uses the witches to influence Macbeth over the killing of King Duncan. The witches give Macbeth a stronger view over being king because Macbeth may have thought about being king before, which is why he mirrors the words of the witches. This may make the audience think that Macbeth had thought about being king before and the witches had merely developed the idea further in Macbeths mind. Macbeth then sends a letter to Lady Macbeth telling her about the three weird sisters and what they had prophesied. Immediately the idea of Macbeth being the new king drove Lady Macbeth to call evil upon herself. ...read more.


"In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" This is another reminder that we get about the witches reminding us that they are the most powerful people in the play even though they are not always there. This also shows that they are watching Macbeth all the time, showing the audience how much influence over Macbeth they have. Macbeth seems to be turning towards evil rather than doing any good, first he committed the highest treason which was killing Duncan, then he killed the two guards so that they could not stick up for themselves and say that they did not kill Duncan. But then Macbeth has to commit two more murders so that then he will not have any people who can take the throne away from him. These people are Banquo and Fleance, Macbeth hires out three murderers who he convinces that Banquo is the enemy to do the deed but they only manage to kill Banquo, Fleance gets away. Macbeth then kills the murderers by pushing them down a well. This all leads back to the witches, if Macbeth did not meet with the witches he would never had committed any of those deeds there meeting with Macbeth influenced him to kill the king and then kill his best friend. Although Macbeth has killed all these people, the two guards, he has not been thrown into prison. That is because in Jacobean times killing was common and people used to kill others over small arguments. That is why Macbeth was not thrown into prison for killing the guards. ...read more.

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