Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare, it was one of his most famous plays, for its great storyline and strong characters. One of the characters, Lady Macbeth has a great significance to Macbeth's downfall. To understand more about how the witches and Lady Macbeth have this great effect on Macbeth, we must understand the historical and social context. At the time when Macbeth was written, in 1605, James I was the king of Scotland and England. James was a protestant, and many Roman Catholics did not agree on this they wanted a Catholic ruler, many tried to plot against him, including Guy Fawkes. James liked drama and especially enjoyed Shakespeare's plays. So this was a way for Shakespeare to please James I. Shakespeare was also popular with his audience. In the C17th, people were great believers in supernatural beliefs, including witchcraft. It did not take a lot for people to believe that witches were real. So that the witches could have an evil influence on Macbeth was a believable concept to audiences of the time. The women in C17th kept a low profile, their only status was through their husband. If their husband was rich then they would be also.
The story of Macbeth is about a man's downfall due to bad influences and his ambitions and growing ego. The story is about three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, thane of Glamis and King of Scotland. After telling Macbeth of this Macbeth becomes eager and ambitious to become king. His over-ambitious wife influences Macbeth to kill King Duncan so that he will become king. From then he kills his best friend Banquo and his family, because he is afraid of him. The witches make three more prophecies to Macbeth, which makes Macbeth think that he is unstoppable. Soon after Lady Macbeth goes mad and kills herself, and a group of rebellions go against Macbeth. Macduff then kills him, and Banqou's son becomes king just as the witch's first prophesised.cofd fdr sefdfdw orfd fdk infd fofd fd.
Macbeth's character starts off strong, brave, noble and loyal, everyone respects him and honours him. "For brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name" (1.2, line 16). He had become the hero of the war, defeated a traitor to King Duncan and became greatly respected. We hear all of this before Macbeth even enters the play; he is the centre of attention.
The play begins with the witches. They are introduced to the audience with thunder and lightening. They are seen chanting and they vanish in the mist. This short scene sets the mood for the rest of the play. When the witches say, "Fair is foul and fair is foul," it puts across that the witches are hags and are vile. This develops the plot as it suggests that sinister things will happen. We are made aware that the play focuses on the evil through the use of darkness, thunder and lightening and the witches.
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Macbeth enters the stage with Banqou. He is portrayed the brave warrior returning home from victory, very soon, however, the audience gets glimpses into his real character- the one unknown to the other characters in the play.
The witches greet him with "Hail to thee thane of Cawdor, Hail to thee thane of Glamis, hail to thee king hereafter" and need of ambition is planted in him, "stay you imperfect speakers! Tell me more!" (1.3, line 69). By what he says we know that he thinks they are evil, and they do not speak the truth, but he nonetheless is curious to know more, hoping that they might be right. They disappear; Ross and Angus come to tell Macbeth that he has become Thane of Cawdor. And we begin to see that Macbeth becomes even more curious and ambitious, because two of the prophecies are true. "If chance will have me king" (1.3, line 143) he believes that there is a chance that he will become king. When Macbeth tells Duncan; "stars, hide your fire" (1.4, line 50), we see that he has something so devious on his mind that he doesn't even want the stars to see what he will do, but we are not sure if he could be talking about murder or not, but there is noting else that he could be talking about? His downfall begins to shift faster when Lad y Macbeth finds out about the witches prophecies and begins to make evil plans to kill King Duncan, she tells him to look innocent like a flower but be a serpent underneath. She tells Macbeth the plans to kill Duncan but Macbeth tells her that they will speak later "we will speak later" this shows that he is not ignoring the idea and he wants to go ahead with the plan, he wants to discuss more. Macbeth has a choice whether to leave the idea or go ahead with in which he decides to go ahead with. Just before Macbeth kills Duncan, he begins to have hallucinations; this part of the scene is shown as a soliloquy. "a dagger of the mind, a false creation" (2.1, line 39). This may show that he is confused of what is happening, and maybe having second thoughts about it. After killing Duncan he is overwhelmed with guilt and this makes him more evil as he gets rid of any evidence of his guilt by killing the guards and putting on an act of innocence. He soon realises that if all 3 prophecies for him as come true then the prophecies for Banquo must come true as well. So Banqou is now a threat to Macbeth's crown, so he decides to kill Banqou by influencing 2 murderers that Banqou is their enemy “Both of you, know Banquo was your enemy" (3.1, line 112). We can see that Macbeth's character has completely fallen from the beginning. Macbeth takes everything in his strife; he no longer needed Lady Macbeth's advice or evil ideas. Lady Macbeth has sparked his evil side and no longer needs his wife. from coursewrok work info
We know that Lady Macbeth is evil as soon as she is introduced. Her first thoughts of the letter show this, she fears that her husband is too kind to take the easy way out. "Yet I do fear thy nature; it is too full o'the milk of kindness"(1.5, line 14-15), we know that the easy way to become king is to kill King Duncan, so we know that this is what Lady Macbeth is thinking. Lady Macbeth is stronger compared to Macbeth.
When Macbeth fears they might fail, Lady Macbeth tells him to be strong and stop acting like child. "But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail" (act 1.7, line 61) in the manner that she says it she seems a bit rude to
Macbeth, but still stronger and very positive about not failing. We also see that Lady Macbeth wants to be stronger, she wants to be as strong as a man. "Unsex me here…make thick my blood" (1.5, line 39-41) here she shows that she wants to become even more evil. She must know that what she plans is to dangerous and cold-hearted for any woman to experience, I think that she knows that to murder the King she must be strong and brave- all the things that women aren't suppose to be. Even though she calls on the evil spirits we still know that she can't be as strong or evil as she wants to be. "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't" (2.2, line 12-13). Here Lady Macbeth explains to Macbeth that she would have done it, but as Duncan slept he looked like her father and so she was unable to do it. This is an indication that she remains a woman and still has a woman's tenderness. It is ironic when Macduff warns that the news of Duncan's murder isn't ideal for a woman to hear. "tis not for you to hear what I can speak. The repetition in a woman's ear" (2.3, line 81-82). The audience knows that this situation is perfectly fine for Lady Macbeth to be exposed to, so for Macduff to say this we can begin understand the reputation that women in the C17th had, and then we can see just how cruel Lady Macbeth really is.
We know that Lady Macbeth is a great influence to Macbeth; to understand more we must understand the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's relationship is very tight and close. They seem to tell each other everything. For example when the witches made the prophecies, he wrote to Lady Macbeth to tell her about everything. “This have I thought good to deliver" (1.5 line 9).
In the relationship we can see that Lady Macbeth is more dominant than Macbeth, she is more controlling. " Leave all the rest to me" (1.5, line 71) she has already planned the murder out before Macbeth has agreed to it. Which shows that she knows her husband well enough, that he will agree to whatever she will say and do. I can also tell that they are close and passionate with each other by the language and dialogue they both use, for example in the letter Macbeth sends he writes, "my dearest partner of greatness" (1.5, line 9) even when they meet Macbeth still uses the same language "My dearest love" (1.5, line 56). We also see that when Macbeth stops to think about the plan we see that she begins to verbally abuse and assault him, she also starts to black mail him "from this time, such I account thy love" (1,7 line 29), here she is telling Macbeth that if he doesn't do this plan it will show that he doesn't not love her.
I think that Lady Macbeth is a bad influence on Macbeth because she is controlling and because the trust that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is strong, and because they are very close and sharing.
The role of women in Macbeth is very negative, the main women are the witches and Lady Macbeth, and they are both evil in the play. They both play a bad influence on Macbeth. In the first instants that these characters are introduced we know that they are evil, we also see that the women characters seem to be stronger than Macbeth. We know that the witches play an important part to the play as they are in the very first scene of the play.
We see that the witches have true magical powers, and we see that Lady Macbeth is mentally stronger than Macbeth. I think that Macbeth's actions and downfall is all down to the witches and Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth has the final decision of his actions. This project from coursework.info
The witches are also a bad influence on Macbeth and we know this by the very first scene in the play, this shows that their roles in the play are very important to the plot of the play. In the C17th witches were greatly believed in, people believed that just as God had priests, then the devil had witches. Shakespeare wanted to create an atmosphere of evil, to show the audience that the witches are evil; he did this by having lightening and thunder to introduce the witches. And we know that they are supernatural because they begin to plan the future, and predict that they will meet Macbeth. We also so see that they are creatures of darkness because they meet in thunder and lightening and they plan to meet again in thunder, lightening or in rain. The second time we see the witches they enter again in Thunder and lightening this indicates to the audience that they are coming. This time they talk about the slaughtering that they have done and going to do. In their dialogue they seem to talk in a rhythm and rhyme, showing that they are not normal
"But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And like a rat without a tail" (1.3 line8-9) This writing from coursework.info
When Macbeth enters they greet him with their prophecies, which surprises him. How can he be the Thane of Cawdor? And how will he be King? The witches in the play are the evil equivocators, they twist the truth to make Macbeth curious and turn evil. When Banquo says "and oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truth: win us with honest trifles to betray's in deepest consequence" (1.3, line 122-123). This shows that the witches are using this method of telling bits of truth but do not tell the absolute truth, this shows that the witches have the ability to influence Macbeth. Macbeth is vulnerable and gullible. Banqou does not believe that what the witches say are true, he is wary of the truth.
When they make the prophecy: "for none of woman born, shall harmMacbeth" (4.1, line 79) this is how they are known to be equivocators, because they make Macbeth believe that no one who is born naturally can kill Macbeth, and to Macbeth this is a good thing because he knows that if someone isn't born naturally they must not be alive. Making Macbeth think that he is indestructible, but the real truth is that Macduff wasn't born naturally but was born through caesarean, so the witches weren't exactly telling the truth, which makes them the evil equivocators.
Shakespeare uses dramatic devices to grab the audience's attention; he uses dialogue, stage directions and stage effects. All these effects help the audience see that the witches and Lady Macbeth are evil. The atmosphere that Shakespeare creates when the witches arrive, gives an evil and dark effect. They enter in Thunder and lightening, which then later on signifies that they are coming. Their dialogue also shows how evil they are, on their exit at the end of act 1 scene1, they say "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (1.1, line 9), this shows that some things may seem fair but is really foul, but when Macbeth enters he says "so foul and fair a day I have not seen" (1.3, line37). This shows that Macbeth as some how come into the witches world. And it shows to the audience that the witches do have some sort of supernatural powers, it is only when Ross and Angus come to Macbeth to tell him that he is the Thane of Cawdor, that the audience realizes that they really can foretell the future. The way that the witches speak shows that they are far from normal; they speak in a poetic sense. There isn't much stage directions to show that Lady Macbeth is evil, only her dialogue shows a clue that maybe the way that she would speak shows that she is evil. For example when she tells Macbeth to be brave, "But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail" (act 1.7, line 61), the way she might have said this would have been loud and aggressive, making the audience see how influential she really is.cobd bdr sebdbdw orbd bdk inbd fobd bd.
The women in Macbeth are greatly important to the plot of the play, Shakespeare makes storylines to show how influential and evil they are. The witches play a great part because they foretell the future to Macbeth, it is an option for Macbeth to accept or not accept their predictions, but he decides to accept because the predictions come true and because they are so tempting to dream about such prophecies, like becoming king. And because they are the evil equivocators they are seen as even more evil and betraying, letting Macbeth fall into their spell. Lady Macbeth is important as she is the wife of Macbeth, and because they have a loving relationship she is even more influential on Macbeth. The relationship between Macbeth is very close and tight and this helps Lady Macbeth to control what Macbeth does. After Lady Macbeth has influenced Macbeth to kill Duncan, we see that this leads to the number of disastrous and unnecessary chain of events. All the women lead to the downfall of Macbeth because Macbeth is so gullible and weak, whereas the other women seem a lot stronger than he is. So in conclusion Lady Macbeth and the witches are the main reason for Macbeth's downfall, because of the way they twist the truth or try and blackmail Macbeth.