• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the role of the witches and what extent are they responsible for Macbeth's tragic end?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What is the role of the witches and what extent are they responsible for Macbeth's tragic end? The role of the witches in the play Macbeth depends on the nature of the audience. Initially, the Elizabethan audience consider Macbeth as a respectable and well-liked character. We do however learn that appearances can be deceptive which corresponds with the main theme of the play; "Fair is foul, foul is fair". This theme is first introduced in Act 1, Scene 1 where the witches foretell the struggle between the forces of good and evil in which Macbeth is to be involved. It is also an indication that all will not be as it seem s. This portrays a character as being much worse if the audience's first impressions of that character were positive. We must also take into consideration that during the reign of James I of England, Shakespeare's audience believed in God and the devil, and heaven and hell. ...read more.

Middle

The significance of the prophecy is that it is brought this desire to the foreground, and made it reality. The witches told Macbeth that he would be king, and he took this statement for granted. For Macbeth, it suddenly changed from whether or not he would be king to how would get to be king. Without the witches to suggest the major course of action, Macbeth would not have been so bold as to pursue his ambition. I feel the witches know that Macbeth will be paranoid and kill those about him. Hecate herself says: "And you all know, security is mortals' chiefest enemy." (3.5.32-33). The witches also come to Macbeth again, speaking of his future and his downfall. Three apparitions appear before him. The first tell him to beware Macduff, who eventually leads the forces to defeat Macbeth. The second tells him "Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." ...read more.

Conclusion

When she hears that Duncan will visit their castle that night, she immediately appeals to the evil spirits, to give her the strength to kill the king. Lady Macbeth completely ignores the first influence of loyalty to Duncan, her influence is completely self motivated and originated in her own mind. She takes advantage of Macbeths's original motivation, his ambition, and uses that to decide what he must do. Lady Macbeth also appears to be made of a sterner substance than her husband, or at least is more committed to the deed. It should be noted that she does not actually have to kill Duncan; so most of the strength she has to build up goes into convincing Macbeth that it is a good idea. Her influence on Macbeth in this matter is obviously great. He's not too fond of the idea, but Lady Macbeth tells him he must commit murder to fulfill his destiny. And every time he tries to reconsider, she persuades him yet again to continue with the act. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. What is the role of the witches and to what extent are they responsible ...

    Lady Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear". She is saying that she will influence him with evil thoughts and argue away.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall?

    As Macbeth becomes the king, he turns into a cruel and an unjust ruler. As it is his first break from Lady Macbeth's power, it becomes a liberating experience for him. They are no longer a 'team' as he takes over the planning of any further actions from Lady Macbeth,

  1. To what extent was Lady Macbeth responsible for Macbeths downfall?

    In this scene, we see Macbeth and his wife together and it is also the final scene wherein Lady Macbeth takes charge of Macbeth. Past this stage in the play, Lady Macbeth can not be the one responsible for Macbeth's actions, because she has no longer got the opportunity to

  2. How do the Witches in Macbeth Reflect contemporary ideas of witchcraft? Are the Witches ...

    So the witches in 'Macbeth' can 'represent dead men's shapes' as it is shown by them raising an illusion of Banquo. Considering that Banquo is dead, the witches represent a dead man's shape in this way. Now that I have fully established that the witches in 'Macbeth' do reflect contemporary

  1. Explore the role of the witches in 'Macbeth'. To what extent do they influence ...

    it will rain, and when it will not, or that they can control the weather, and are deciding what weather they should conjure up when next they meet. If the witches are capable of controlling nature, then surely they could be held responsible for further mishaps in nature, for example, the day being "strangely dark" in Act 2, Scene 4.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth responsible for his own downfall?

    Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here" this is when Lady Macbeth summons the evil sprits to lose her feminity and have the courage of a man so that she alone can commit the murder. "Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up th' access

  1. Examine the role of the witches in Macbeth.

    The greetings are presented in syntactic parallelism in the following way: All hail Macbeth hail to thee Thane of Glamis All hail Macbeth hail to thee Thane of Cawdor All hail Macbeth that that shalt be King hereafter The close repetition of the phrase gives the parallelism a strong rhythmic

  2. To what extent does Macbeth fulfill the role of a Shakespearian tragic hero.

    Although Macbeth writes as if he is madly in love with Lady Macbeth and obeys her commands, I didn't feel Macbeth reacted in a way a man in love would react, he doesn't really seem to care when becomes insane or even when he is given the news of her death.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work