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The Role of the Witches in the play "Macbeth".

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The Role of the Witches in the play "Macbeth" Macbeth is a play about morals and how people can be easily influenced. The audience at the time of the play's writing were less educated and more superstitious than we are. They believed in witches and thought that they were the devils disciples. They blamed many things, such as outbreaks of disease on them. The Witches in Macbeth tell him his future. But how much do they influence him in the play? What is the role of the Witches in "Macbeth"? The first people to meet the Witches are Banquo and Macbeth. They find the witches appearance is vile. We can see this as Banquo says that "(they) look not like the inhabitants of the earth." This shows us that the witches are obviously strange, and probably misshapen in their appearance. Banquo also says that "(they) should be women, and yet (their) beards forbid me to interpret, that (they) are so." ...read more.


"Upon the heath" "There to meet with Macbeth." At the end of this scene they say, "Hover through the fog," showing us that they can hover. They can also control the winds "I'll give thee a wind" and use this power to do evil things like cause shipwrecks. The Witches can travel at high-speeds "Posters (high-speed travellers) of land and sea." They also curse people to hell "He shall live a man forbid (cursed)." They can see in to the future, which is the crux of Act 1 Sc. 1 and Act 4 Sc. 1. They have the capacity to summon up apparitions. They can topple down buildings "Though castles topple." And they can vanish. We see this when they leave Banquo and Macbeth on the heath and the stage direction says "Witches vanish." The witches would probably have filled every Elizabethan stereotype of witches. Banquo describes them as "withered" and "wild" and this would have met the Elizabethan expectation of the emaciated old hag casting spells and cursing. ...read more.


The warning is the seed, but Macbeth thinks the rest for himself. The second warning tells Macbeth that he can be harmed by any man "of woman born." Macbeth takes this literally and says before the battle "What's the boy Malcolm? Was he not of woman born?" However, we learn later a few scenes later that Macbeth has taken this too literally and that it means natural. We also learn that Macduff was not naturally born and so can harm Macbeth. So what really is the role of the witches in Macbeth? I think that their role is to give Macbeth a thought that they know he will try and expand on. The perfect example is foretelling his ascension to the throne. They tell him he will become king but they don't tell him how. He just assumes he has to murder Duncan to become king. The witches are also there to help the play move along naturally. They are there to guide Macbeth along his path in the play. The Witches have quite a strong influence over Macbeth and so use this to guide him down his path. Sam Dodgin 10C Mr Hunter 1 of 2 9.5.07 19:05 ...read more.

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