Discuss the importance of the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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Discuss the importance of the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth


I am going to be discussing the importance of the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth by focusing on three main scenes

  • The prologue
  • Act 1 Scene 3
  • Act 4 Scene 1

These are the main parts of the play where to witches appear I am going to leave out act 3 scene 5 although it includes the witches it is not recognized as part of Shakespeare’s work

And Polanski has also left it out of his production

There is some very historical importance about the witches

The fact that in the time this play was being written people where being accused of being witches and where being burned for it so people would have been very scared and aware of witches and there evil powers they would have been very intimidating. Now day’s witches are seen as a fun thing to dress up as at Halloween so polanski would have had a hard time scary a modern audience. He don’t not use typical things like thunder and lightning instead he used fog and a misty settings when the witches are around, sometimes rain


The story begins with thunder this would be very scary to a Shakespearean audience and it suggests to the audience and dangerous and uncontrollable power where as in Polanski’s version he begins with no thunder and just a misty rainy sort of weather. They start talking about where they should meet Macbeth notice how they already know his name showing there power and knowledge. In Shakespeare’s version he says that the witches appear in an open place this shows that they have nothing to hide and they don’t care what people think showing that they have power so they are not afraid.

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For Polanski’s version he picked the open place to be a beach as it represents the witches power over all the main elements water, land and air. The misty air adds a mysterious feel to the scene, as the witches are very mysterious themselves. In polanski’s version of the play the witches start of by digging a hole and setting in it a noose this could be to represent that death will follow in this play then we see a forearm being set into the hole beside the noose with a dagger in it’s grasps this represent that killing ...

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