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The Significance of the Witches in ‘Macbeth’

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Introduction

The Significance of the Witches in 'Macbeth' At the time 'Macbeth' was written witches played an important part in normal life. Everybody feared witches and their powers. Women even had to be scared in case they were accused of being a witch. At the time of Macbeth King James was paranoid about being killed by witches so this paranoia from the King travelled through England. When people went to see the play they would believe that things like the prophecies could actually happen. The audience would watch the play and see Macbeth (and Lady Macbeth) change from loyal subjects to royal murderers. To them this would look like they were being possessed by evil spirits. This may have caused the audience to feel sorry for Macbeth and his wife and their hatred of witches to grow more. When the curtains go back the first characters to be seen are the three witches. This signifies their importance over the play as a whole. The witches would have been instantly recognisable; wearing black and being an ugly woman would have meant being accused of being a witch. The witches meet in foul weather, this would have also implied that they were witches as witches were meant to be able to change the weather, bad weather brings evil spirits. ...read more.

Middle

The witches were unnaturally close to Macbeth and seemed to work with one mind with him. Had the thoughts of becoming King already crossed Macbeths' mind? Afterwards Banquo seems more focused; perhaps this is showing Macbeth gets lead easily. When the first prophecy comes true Macbeth doesn't doubt the witches at all. They have done what they had to, gain Macbeths' trust. From now on Macbeth is under their spell. Even though Lady Macbeth never meets the witches they still have some power over her. When she receives the letter from Macbeth she is the one that persuades him that to become king he will have to kill. Lady Macbeth appears to have evil in her already. The audience might wonder if she has met the witches before or if she has been possessed by evil spirits. When the time comes to kill King Duncan both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have to call upon the powers of darkness to make sure they have enough evil in them and no natural feelings of guilt and horror. The audience would see how the witches could change someone's personality. At this point in the play Macbeth isn't completely evil. This means he takes a lot of persuasion before he murders as he still has part of his own mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

After hearing this you assume Macbeth is going to die. . This is because; if you get told in a play that only one thing is to worry about that thing normally happens. As well as this Macbeth has already admitted weakness by going to revisit the witches. The apparitions are telling Macbeth he is safe. He still plans to kill Macduff because of the first apparition. This indicates it is the witches fault people are getting killed as Macbeth is easily led. Before Lady Macbeth dies she is heard talking of murders in her sleep. She is going over things that happened. Shakespeare is trying to show that you can't get away from your actions. The audience would see that once you are under a witches spell you can't get out of it. When Lady Macbeth dies Macbeth is emotionless, he no longer cares about the rest of the world. When Macbeth dies the audience sees that the apparition wasn't telling the whole truth. Macduff was of woman born but through caesarean birth. This might imply that although everyone thinks the witches had power over the play really they were just looking for someone to place the blame onto. Shakespeare was trying to show everyone has responsibility for their actions and can't blame someone/thing else. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachael Bates Page ...read more.

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