The play Macbeth is a tragedy, dealing with the downfall and death of the main character.

Authors Avatar

The play Macbeth is a tragedy, dealing with the downfall and death of the main character. At the outset of the play Macbeth was a hero he was full of confidence from winning battles.

However he had a fatal flaw in him which led him to want more.

He was told by the witches that he would become king; his ambition drove him to kill Duncan. Hence the witches along with Lady Macbeth who worked on his fatal flaw and encouraging him towards his downfall.

He commits treason and murder. He is no longer a hero. He threw it all away and he loses all respect from the people. Shakespeare has used the witches to tempt Macbeth towards this path of evil.

The importance of witches always being an item in the play shows an evil presence all the time. At the time when Shakespeare wrote the play witches were a big part in society. People would accuse lonely old women of being witches and they would often blame them for the death of their animals or for storms at sea. So Shakespeare deliberately used the witches in his play as he knew the audience at that time would be interested in it.

Witches were expected to be evil and ugly looking by the audience. Shakespeare would have often have used sound effects to create storms as the people of that day and age often associated witches with storms.

  I am now going to examine and analysis Shakespeare’s presentation of the witches.

  It is significant that when the very first scene opens there are witches on the stage. This immediately shows the audience that the play has an evil theme. The witches have immediate impact on the play from the very first scene as they are already rhyming and using metaphors, repetition and alliteration etc. They use prophecy a lot and it usually all comes true, for example the prophecies they made in the first scene come true in the third scene. So this shows the audience they have the power to foresee the future. In most of the scenes with the witches they usually speak in rhyming, for example “a drum, a drum Macbeth doth come”. Shakespeare uses this method of speech to distinguish them from the other characters who speak in prone and blank verse. They also speak using alliteration, for example “fair is foul, foul is fair” instead of saying the fighting is done. They speak in a chant like tone using a lot of riddles. The riddles give the impression that the witches have a hidden agenda deliberately disguising the truth.

Join now!

One of the prophecies that the witches make in the first scene is that they would arrange to meet Macbeth indicating where they would meet him so of course it came true and in the very first act, Macbeth appears with Banqo and they happen to bump into the witches. The witches create circumstances that tempt him to indulge his ambitious nature.

The witches start to prophesy that Macbeth will become King which goes against the divine right of the King. The audience would see this as going against God which makes the audience despise the witches. Macbeth starts ...

This is a preview of the whole essay