• 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 was Lady Macbeth responsible for Macbeths downfall?

    This enables Macbeth to attain new courage so as to plan out others murders himself. We come to see how initially Lady Macbeth made Macbeth immune to carrying out the murder of King Duncan; hence he sees another murder as being a normal aspect.

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

    was promoted to be 'Thane of Cawdor' and the witches could only have so much power over Macbeth if he already had these thoughts of evil in his mind. So the major question is - what is Macbeth's level of evil?

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

    This is also mirrored with their ability to see in to the future, the witches say: "When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?" This phrase has a double meaning. It could mean that the witches can see into the future and can therefore predict when

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

    This is an abbreviation for 'I'll do him in' which means 'I'll kill him or at the least hurt him'. This message of violence and hatred towards the sailor shows clearly the description of hate that Shakespeare has given the witches.

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

    In this particular scene Lady Macbeth appears to be a totally committed woman whose every effort is to strive for the greater glory of her husband. There is also an element in Lady Macbeth's attitude, which is strongly reminiscent of the witches, "That I may pour my spirits in thine

  1. Examine the role of the witches in Macbeth.

    Glamis', 'hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor' and 'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter'. The three lines indicate the three states of being: past, present and future. 'Glamis' shows the past tense, as Macbeth has been Thane of Glamis for a significant amount of time and he is aware of his position.

  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