Role Of Witches In Macbeth Essay

Role Of Witches In Macbeth Essay-66
This writer provides the highest quality of work possible.The witches are vital elements in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, not just to make it successful in Jacobean times, but also to add depth and atmosphere to the play.

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‘ The witches create storms, with each of the other witches saying ‘I’ll give thee a wind’, thereby making the water extremely choppy so the husband is unable to dock his boat.

However, the first witch states that ‘his bark cannot be lost’.

‘ Although the witches cannot directly bring about death, they can have a hand in the elements that cause it.

The witches can only create the climate for evil, as man alone causes chaos by destroying order, as is proved further on in the play when, through the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth kills many of those around him.

In 1604, a year after he came to the English throne, James passed many laws on witchcraft, having shown much interest in the subject, to the extent of writing his own book seven years previously, entitled ‘Daemonologie’.

In this book he put forward his arguments in favour of belief in witchcraft and demonic possession, beliefs that were made evident through his involvement in a number of trials of alleged witches.They are the root of disorder and are the trigger factor for the chaos that unfolds throughout the play.Shakespeare considered their role very carefully and included them for important reasons.Shakespeare creates an air of darkness, chaos and mysticism with his first stage direction of ”Thunder and lightening. This is reiterated towards the end of the first scene when the witches state “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, telling the audience that it is often difficult to distinguish between good and evil, and often the two become intertwined.This entanglement of the two is shown with Macbeth’s first line ‘so foul and fair a day I have not seen’, giving an example of what the witches implied and so informing the audience that the relationship between Macbeth and the witches, or good and evil at this stage, is going to be an important theme in the play.The audience is left to ask whether the witches are independent agents toying with human lives, or agents of fate, whose prophecies are only reports of the inevitable.The witches bear a striking and obviously intentional resemblance to the Fates, female characters in both Norse and Greek mythology who weave the fabric of human lives and then cut the threads to end them. For example, it is doubtful that Macbeth would have murdered his king without the push given by the witches’ predictions.Throughout the play, the witches—referred to as the “weird sisters” by many of the characters—lurk like dark thoughts and unconscious temptations to evil.In part, the mischief they cause stems from their supernatural powers, but mainly it is the result of their understanding of the weaknesses of their specific interlocutors—they play upon Macbeth’s ambition like puppeteers.Shakespeare uses the witches to display on a small scale what will happen throughout the play.In many ways the sailor and his boat are representatives of Macbeth when he is ruling Scotland.


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