Macbeth: Witches Influence on Macbeth's Decisions

  • Length: 1272 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Macbeth: Witches Influence on Macbeth's Decisions


In the Shakespearean play, "Macbeth," the witches influence on how Macbeth made

his decisions played a crucial part in contributing to his eventual destruction.

The witches were trying to create chaos by prophesying to Macbeth in order to

get him to act. They planted the seed of evil in Macbeth's head that grew to

dominate his mind. But it was Macbeth who made the choices that determined his

fate. He was not forced to kill Duncan nor any of his other victims. But after

he murdered Duncan, Macbeth lost his sanity. The witches were easily able to

control his mind. They made him believe that he was invincible, and then he

willingly continued to fight when he knew that it would mean his doom. Macbeth's

downfall was planned by the weird sisters, but it was Macbeth's own free will

that lead him to it.


The three witches called the weird sisters are the root of the problem that is

the subject for this story. The weird sisters are creators of chaos by nature.

They associate with evil spirits and obey them, and they are followers of the

evil goddess, Hecate. In the play the witches, with their spells, plan the

downfall of Macbeth. They cannot directly harm him themselves, so they tell

Macbeth predictions for his possible future, in order to make him act on them.

The witches tell Macbeth that he will become the thane of Cawdor and then king

of Scotland. They poison his mind with these prophesies, making him greedy and

bringing out the evil qualities in his soul. When the first of the promises is

proven authentic, Macbeth then considers the idea of murdering Duncan for the

first time. This is his first step on the journey to his demise, as the witches

had planned.


The three witches' plan succeeded, they had aroused the greed in Macbeth,

allowing him to make the most important choice of the play - to kill Duncan.

Macbeth does not easily make this decision. In fact, at first he decides against

it, but, with the knowledge that he could be king, he could not help himself

from considering it. After constant persuasion from Lady Macbeth, she and

Macbeth finally made their decision. Lady Macbeth would load Duncan's attendants

with liquor, and then, on Lady Macbeth's signal, Macbeth would creep into

Duncan's chamber and slay him with his servant's weapons. This act surges

Macbeth forward on the direct path to his destruction. Afterwards, when Duncan

is discovered dead, Macbeth kills again when he murders the servants who were

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Macbeth: Witches Influence on Macbeth's Decisions." 20 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Macbeth and the Witches Essay example - Macbeth: The Witches’ Responsibility for Macbeth’s Actions The three witches that are introduced at the beginning of the play are responsible for the introduction of the ideas that caused Duncan’s death and Macbeth’s destruction but not for Macbeth’s actions themselves. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies; that Macbeth will be: 1) Thane of Cawdor, 2) Thane of Glamis, and 3) King. Macbeth welcomes the ideas spawned from the witches’ prophecies, which is what triggered the spiral of events in this story....   [tags: essays research papers] 1004 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Three Witches in Macbeth Essay - The three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are introduced right at the beginning of the play. The scene opens with the witches chanting three prophesies: Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and King. These prophesies introduce Macbeth to his plan of defeat and to over power. Macbeth will eventually follow through in killing king Duncan. Some people believe that the witches had the ability to reverse the order of things. This brings into the play idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play....   [tags: William Shakespeare] 986 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Role of the Witches Essay - The Role of the Witches in Macbeth   When Shakespeare wrote his play, Macbeth in 1606 a large majority of people were interested in witchcraft. This is why Shakespeare made the witches and the witches’ prophecies play a major part in the storyline of the play. In the time of Macbeth witches were not thought to be supernatural beings themselves, but supposedly gained their powers by selling their souls to Satan. There can be little doubt that most of Shakespeare’s audience would have believed in witches, and for the purpose of the play, at least, Shakespeare also accepted their reality....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Macbeth Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1282 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Effects of the Witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth - ... In this case however, the outside influence from convincing characters like the witches he is inclined to view this as he has to fulfill his destiny. Because of his ambition and the influence of his wife and the witches prophecies Macbeth’s actions lead to his downfall. Through this it is clear to see how much the witches evil actions influenced macbeth and his decisions. “Hail Thane of Glamis and of Cawdor and shalt be King hereafter”. The witches gave this prophecy and was taken by Macbeth without question or moral judgement....   [tags: evil, prophecy, guilt]
:: 1 Works Cited
592 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Influence of Three Witches on William Shakespeare's Macbeth - Influence of Three Witches on William Shakespeare's Macbeth The three weird sisters' in the play of Macbeth have a vital role in dictating how the play is going to turn out. They achieve this in many ways that I will endeavour to explain. The three sisters appear in the play three times, once at the very beginning when they set the scene for the whole play, then they appear in Act 1 Scene 1, the last time we see or hear of then is in act 4 scene 1. In the first scene, which is very short, only 14 lines long, the witches are on a beach where a battle had just been fought....   [tags: Papers] 593 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Role of the Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essays - The Role of the Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth William Shakespeare probably wrote his play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, for King James I around 1606. To fully appreciate why the witches had such and important presence and impact upon the characters in the play, one has to take into account the beliefs and fears that people living in the early part of the 17th century held. Today of course, with our scientific knowledge, and so called 'spiritual enlightenment', witches are perceived by the general population as objects of fun - daft women who practice silly spells(naked of course!) on hillsides- as we 'know' magic doesn't exist....   [tags: Papers] 1159 words
(3.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's Responsibility for Macbeth’s Downfall - Witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's Responsibility for Macbeth’s Downfall Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth shows the downfall of a wrongfully crowned king. But his downfall is not solely due to himself. There are other characters in the play that are part of his downfall. If it weren’t for them, the play would not work. They are part of a chain, one leading to another. The play would not have ended in the same manner, even if one of these characters hadn’t played their part. They all affect each other and Macbeth’s tragic end is the outcome....   [tags: Papers] 1503 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Shakespeare's Presentation of the Witches in Act One of Macbeth - Shakespeare's Presentation of the Witches in Act One of Macbeth When Shakespeare wrote this play in 1606 a large majority of people were interested in witchcraft. King James was so fascinated by witches that he wrote an article about them in 1957 called 'Demonologie´. So this is why Shakespeare has made the witches and the witches´ prophecies play a major part in the storyline and overall feeling of the play Macbeth. In the time of Macbeth witches were not thought to be supernatural beings themselves, but supposedly gained their powers by selling their souls to Satan, and were then instructed and controlled by 'familiar spirits´....   [tags: Papers] 1053 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on powmac Macbeth’s Obsession with Power - Macbeth's Obsession with Power     "I'll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked."  (Act 5, Scene 3).  Phrases as forceful as Macbeth's quote are not common day language, in fact, it is used except in times of intense emotion.  Although the diction of Macbeth's words are from the Elizabethan Age, it's message rings true and clear.  Macbeth clearly will oppose anything standing in the way of his passion.  Critics often debate over the what tragic flaw of Macbeth lead to his downfall.  Was it ambition or Lady Macbeth's influence?  Hardly so.  It was an obsession of power that Macbeth desired so much that led to his compulsive fixation and preoccupation of obtaining his desire by any an...   [tags: Macbeth essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
995 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Macbeth is Not Well-intentioned Essay example - Macbeth is Not Well-intentioned "Macbeth is a well-intentioned character whose downfall is caused solely by the evil advice and influence of other characters." To what extent do you consider this statement to be true. In William Shakespeare's, Macbeth, Macbeth is a character whose downfall is caused by a number of factors. Despite Macbeth being portrayed as a brave, masculine soldier, he is easily persuaded by his wife, Lady Macbeth and the witches who deliver prophecies to Macbeth. Macbeth, while being a victim of this influence, constantly hides his inner ill-intentions and makes tragic and consequential decisions that result in his subsequent downfall....   [tags: William Shakespeare's Macbeth] 868 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches

guarding Duncan. Claiming he acted in rage Macbeth kills the servants so that

they cannot bear witness against him. Macbeth's greed had taken control of him

and he could not turn back. It only took the one idea embedded into Macbeth's

head to lead him toward corruption.


After Macbeth grows more sinful and overpowered with greed he does not make any

real attempt to change, and his conscious is bothered by this. Slowly Macbeth

loses grasp of his sanity and self-control. Being consumed with power, Macbeth

lets nothing stand in the way of his reign, because his reign is all that he has

left now. Macbeth's malevolence and deceptiveness are shown further when he

becomes so obsessed with the witches prophesies to his friend, Banquo, that he

decides to hire two men to kill him and his son. It is not long before Macbeth's

own ruthlessness begins to disturb him, greatly. He suffers from troubled sleep,

nightmares and loss of appetite, and he is going insane. At a banquet in his

castle Macbeth envisions Banquo's ghost and gives a terrified reaction in front

of his guests. Also because Macduff does not attend the banquet and flees to

England, Macbeth, in anger, decides to have his family murdered.  Later in the

play Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth, "I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that,

should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er." This remark

paints the image of Macbeth swimming in a sea of blood, having proceeded so far

that it is easier to continue than to go back. Macbeth has lost hope. With

regret, he feels that he is past the point of no return, he has sinned so

brutally and severely that he is unable to atone for it.


Now that the witches have succeeded in bringing out Macbeth's evil qualities,

they are ready to finish their plot and make sure that Macbeth follows his

destiny to his downfall. With Hecate's guidance, the witches plan to lead

Macbeth to his death by making him feel overconfident. Macbeth goes to seek the

witches in a dark cave. When he finds them, they present him with three

apparitions. The first apparition appears as an armed head that says, "Macbeth!

Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; / Beware the thane of Fife." The second

apparition is a bloody child that tells Macbeth, "Be bloody, bold, and resolute;

laugh to scorn / The power of man, for none born of woman / Shall harm Macbeth."

Finally the third apparition, in the form of a child with a crown on his head,

holding a tree, tells Macbeth that he "Shall never vanquished be until Great

Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him." Macbeth now feels

assured that he cannot be killed because he assumes that all people are born of

a woman, and it is impossible for a forest to move. He could never have guessed

that the apparitions meant that Macduff did not have a natural birth and that

the English would use trees as camouflage. This false confidence Macbeth was

given was extremely important to allow him to make his final decisions that

resulted in his defeat.


The apparitions made an effect on Macbeth and he acts foolishly because of them.

When he is told that Macduff has fled to England, Macbeth, in fury, orders his

family murdered. This only strengthens Macduff's desire to confront and kill

Macbeth. When Macbeth finally realizes that he has been deceived by the witches

his overconfidence turns into arrogance. A messenger reports to Macbeth that it

appears that Birnam Wood is moving toward Dunsinane, as the apparitions had

warned Macbeth it would. But Macbeth now is too determined to fight than to

retreat, so he orders his soldiers to attack. On the battlefield he feels

trapped. But at the same time however, he clings to the prophesy that he cannot

by killed by anyone born of a woman. When Macbeth is finally confronted by

Macduff, Macduff explains that he was delivered by caesarian section and thus,

technically, not born. Now Macbeth fully understands the deception of the

witches and realizes that he destined to die here. But when he is given the

chance to live he does not take it, he would rather die than live in shame. By

free will, despite knowing that he would probably die, Macbeth fights Macduff,

and is slain.


It was Macbeth's free will, with the influence of the witches prophesies that

determined his destiny. Macbeth chose to kill Duncan, chose to kill his servants,

Banquo, and Macduff's family, and chose to fight to his death. And he was not

forced to do so, he took each step on the path to his destruction by choice.

Even though Macbeth seemed to have a predetermined fate, I don't think that he

was bound to it. I think he could have chosen to break away from the direction

he was heading at anytime, but just simply did not have the willpower.



Return to