Witches Effect in Macbeth


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Topic: How important are the witches to Macbeth? Discuss the effects of the witches on character, plot, themes and audience.

In the play of 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare the witches have an important effect on Macbeth, the characters, the plot, the theme and the audience. They help construct the play and without them it would have been a totally different story line. The three weird sisters influence Macbeth in his acts, they effect characters lives, orientate the plot, they are related to most of the themes and appeal the audience's attention.

The witches have a strong effect on Macbeth's character; they highly influence him in his accomplishments and awake his ambitions. They give Macbeth a false sense of security with their apparitions of truths. Instead they prove to be harmful for Macbeth who takes too much comfort and confidence in his interpretation of the truths. They are the ones who plant the actual idea of killing Duncan into Macbeth's mind. But if it were only the witches prophecies, then Macbeth surely would not have murdered the king. 'When you durst to do it, then you were a man,' (Macbeth, Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 7) Lady Macbeth's constant harassment pushed Macbeth and made him commit all this evil. When you reason things out by yourself you tend to now what is right and what is wrong, a conscience. But with the outside influence from the witches he thinks that that is his destiny and he must do everything to fulfill it. One can wonder if Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches. He is overthrown and killed. Through his own ambitions, the ambition of his wife and the witches' prophesies, Macbeth has caused his own destruction and downfall. We can now clearly see that ambition not achieved through our own ability leads to destruction. 'Hail Thane of Glamis and of Cawdor and shalt be King hereafter'. (Act 1 Scene 3) These prophecies from three strangers are taken without question and probably without good judgment. Just the thought that he may be King clouds his thoughts and ambition takes over. The witches can predict the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth, but they cannot control his destiny.

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Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by the guilt of his actions. Although the witches did have the power to accurately predict significant events in Macbeth's life, the actual 'carrying out' of those prophecies was undertaken by Macbeth.

In this play, the three equivocators have a resilient effect, not only on Macbeth but on the other characters too. 'Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings though thou be none.' (Act 1 Scene 3) Banquo is directly involved with the three witches; he talks to them face to face. Being at first strongly contrasted with Macbeth, as an innocent man with a guilty one, it seems like this contrast must be continued to his death; while, in reality, though it is never removed, it is gradually diminished. Banquo in fact may be described much more truly than Macbeth as the victim of the Witches.
Some other characters are indirectly affected by their prophecies. If Macbeth had not been influenced by the witches, he would not have killed Duncan. Because they are the ones who start the play and orientate it, the witches have an effect on every ones life.

The three weird sisters prophesies orientate the plot in a certain direction, some events might not have occurred without their sayings. Macbeth hears these words and then tries to make them happen because he listened to the witches and thinks that he is to become King. Macbeth wants this to happen so badly that he tries to come up with plans and arrange things in order for himself to meet this particular destiny. The witches are essential to the play ‘Macbeth', and without them the plot of the play might be totally different, Macbeth might not kill Duncan and so on. By introducing the witches at the beginning of the play, Shakespeare makes us understand that they will orientate the development of the play. The witches do not have an influence on the plot, they create the plot. They are the ones who gave a purpose to the play by starting off the way they did, promising Macbeth something a human being cannot resist, power. The plot of the play wouldn't have been the same without the witches' intervention, Macbeth would not have thought about killing Duncan and the whole story line would have been different.

They are several themes in the play ‘Macbeth', most of them are related to the witches, or happen because of what the witches predict. In the play there is blood, a lot of deaths, murders etc. By predicting his future to Macbeth, the witches influence him to kill people. Another theme which is influenced by the witches is the transformation of a noble, kind, loyal man to an evil, murderer, disloyal one. The supernatural aspect of the play is occasionally caused by their sayings. ‘Is this dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?' (Act 2 Scene 2) Macbeth imagines a dagger in front of him because the witches to push him to commit evil acts. Good and evil is the most obvious theme in the play. The three weird sisters are referred to as the agents of evil; they create an enigmatic atmosphere in the play and give a feeling of fate, chance and superstition within the characters.

The audience immediately perceives Macbeth's association with the witches as an association with the devil. In Shakespeare's days, witches weren't seen the way they are today, they were hell on earth, the devil in person. Their characters intrigue the crowd in such a way that they have an imposing role in the play. People were attracted by the supernatural, they were curious to understand this other world. Having witches in the play might have elevated people's interest, created a more enigmatic atmosphere and made the play more exciting. The play ‘Macbeth' earned a lot of success because of the interest it gained from the audience, which would not have been the same without the presence of the witches who gave this supernatural side to the play.

In the play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare, the witches have a great effect on every aspect of the play. They made it turn out the way it has, and they mainly created the story line, not by predicting exactly what would occur, but by pushing Macbeth to commit acts.


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