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The role of the three Weird Sisters in the play Macbeth is to generate imagery, mood,

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Introduction

Macbeth In this essay I will explore and explain one of William Shakespeare's tragically play Macbeth. In this aspect is that of the three Weird Sisters. These three" secret black, and midnight hags" (Mac IV.i 47), hardly noticeable as humans, serve a huge dramatic function in the play. Closely looking at Macbeth, one can distinguish the many functions that they serve in the play. The role of the three Weird Sisters in the play Macbeth is to generate imagery, mood, and atmosphere and to serve as the equivocation that will bring Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, to his downfall. The witches are a powerful influence on Macbeth because they are, in part, responsible for his decision to kill Duncan. Through their predictions they have filled Macbeth with the desire for the throne of Scotland. But, in the final analysis, the witches do very little to influence Macbeth to commit the murder of the king, Banquo, and the others. Macbeth's own inner evil and desire for ambition, coupled with the pressure placed on him by Lady Macbeth to kill the king, are really the factors that most strongly influenced Macbeth. The belief in the existence and power of witches was widely believed in Shakespeare's day, as demonstrated by the European witch craze, during which an estimated nine million women were put to death for being apparent as witches. The practice of witchcraft was seen to subvert the established order of religion and society, and hence was not tolerated. ...read more.

Middle

Banquo questions the witches as to who they are, and they greet him as "lesser than Macbeth and greater," "not so happy, yet much happier," and a man who "shall get kings, though he be none." When Macbeth questions them further, the witches vanish like bubbles into the air. Almost as soon as they disappear, Ross and Angus appear, bearing the news that the king has granted Macbeth the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo step aside to discuss this news; Banquo is of the opinion that the title of Thane of Cawdor might "enkindle" Macbeth to seek the crown as well. Macbeth questions why good news like this causes his "seated heart to knock at his ribs / against the use of nature," and his thoughts turn immediately and with terror to murdering the king in order to fulfil the witches' second prophesy. When Ross and Angus notice Macbeth's distraught state, Banquo dismisses it as Macbeth's unfamiliarity with his new title. Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty by confessing to multiple sins and ambitions. When Macduff proves loyal to him, the two plan the strategy they will use in attacking Macbeth. Meanwhile, Macbeth murders Macduff's wife, whom he has deserted, along with all his children. The key characteristic of Macbeth's witches is that while they can influence Macbeth's actions, they cannot compel him to commit the evil deeds that he undertakes in the course of the Scottish tragedy. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe that it is the witches are more responsible for Macbeth's downfall than he is. In Act 4, Scene 1, Macbeth meets again with the witches, who tell him through apparitions, "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife." In the following scene, we see murderers sent by Macbeth enter Macduff's castle and slaughter both Lady Macduff and her son. The witches are also responsible for this murder, because once again, the witches put ideas in his head. Although the witches can be held responsible for the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macduff and her son, they cannot be held responsible for the murder of Banquo. The witches only speak of Banquo when Macbeth meets with them for the second time and Act 4, Scene 1, after Banquo has already been killed. This murder is the complete responsibility of Macbeth, because the witches had absolutely nothing to do with it and it was only Macbeth's own suspicions that brought him to have Banquo killed. If Macbeth had not taken action to fulfil the witch's prophecies, he would probably have been happily living as the thane of Glamis and Cawdor at the end of the play. It could be said that he was responsible for his own downfall. However, Macbeth only took action after hearing the witch's prophecies, so I believe that Macbeth cannot be held totally responsible for what happens to himself. I believe that if Macbeth had never heard the witch's prophecies, he would have lived a happy, full life, and perhaps he would have become anyway. ...read more.

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