In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth, a noble thane, is corrupted because of his unchecked ambitions. Macbeth’s ambitious personality is awakened when three witches appear to hail him as the Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King. This prophecy convinces Macbeth to murder King Duncan, so he can become King; consequently, he is forced to kill others to cover up his first murder. After so much blood is spilled, Macbeth becomes a barbaric tyrant. Macbeth’s 180-degree transformation is a result of the “weird sisters.” Despite the witches being present in only three scenes of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, they advance the plot by foreshadowing events, generating imagery, and introducing main themes.
The witches are perhaps the most important supernatural characters in all of Macbeth. They represent Macbeth’s evil ambitions of evil, greed, and devilish scheming. They first appear in scene one, foreshadowing Macbeth’s future superiority of Scotland and his ultimate fate, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, the future king!” (Act 1, Sc. 2, 3). A...
In the third scene of the first act of Macbeth, Macbeth is introduced along with his best friend Banquo. MacBeth was a Scottish nobleman who was considered to be a war hero because he routed two armies and killed a rebel leader. In this scene, they met three witches who were recounting all of the evil things that they had done. For example, the second witch said she had been killing swine and according to Thomas Marc Parrot, "Killing swine. One of the commonest charges brought against supposed witches in Shakespeare's day was that they maliciously killed by pestilence, or the evil eye, the domestic animals of those they had a grudge against."(Parrot 2). When the witches saw Macbeth and Banquo, they hailed Macbeth; the first witch called him the thane of Glamis, the second called him the thane of Cawdor, and the third called him the future king along with telling Banqou's that his children would become kings as well.
The witches play a brief, yet important role in Macbeth’s fate. At the beginning of the play, the witches deliver a prophecy to Macbeth stating that Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis, and he will become the Thane of Cawdor and the King of Scotland. At first, Macbeth is humbled by this news. However, the prophecies give him false hope, overconfidence and much temptation and ambition to become King. This is exhibited when Macbeth writes a letter to his wife about the witches prophecies in which he says, “My dearest partner of greatness,/ that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being/ ignorant of what greatness is promised thee.” (1.5.10-12). As this quotation demonstrates, Macbeth is now eager to have the witches prophecies fulfilled as he knows now what his future holds. The witches also deliver another prophecy to Macbeth which aids in his downfall. This prophecy explains that no man who was born of a woman is capable of harming Macbeth. This causes...
The statement "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" does not thoroughly express the many themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The first time this statement occurs is very early in the play, when the witches chant the exact line "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"(I.i.12) only for Macbeth to repeat it himself two scenes later. This repetition of the lines shows that the characters themselves believe that there are many foul events taking place. Firstly, one can watch the fair Macbeth degrading into a foul inhuman monster. Secondly, the witches may be contrasted to Macbeth to demonstrate the real foulness in these characters. Thirdly, it can be shown that there is simply no fairness existing in Macbeth. Lastly, one can see that there are too many themes in Shakespeare's Macbeth to be summed up in one line.
The witches play a highly influential role in Macbeth, and their appearance in Macbeth’s life is uncontrollable. Although Macbeth chooses to believe the witches, they have a plan to destroy Macbeth that is out of Macbeth’s hands. He also cannot help that the witches are evil in nature, as evidenced by a conversation between the witches: “I will dra...
Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a recognized classic tragedy portraying the victory of good over evil. This paper will explore the various expressions of evil within the play.
One of the themes from Macbeth is good versus evil. Macbeth is a good, honorable soldier in the beginning who is loyal to the king. Macbeth does not stay on the good side for very long in the play. At the beginning, the witches say that fair is foul, and foul is fair, foreshadowing what is to come later. The witches’ line that says “fair is foul, and foul is fair” means that what is good is evil and what is evil is good.
In this play like I mentioned before there were three witches, they take a very important part in the play because they are part of the reason why Macbeth murders the king. They state he will become king soon, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All Hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (I. iii. 48-50). He does not believe so because he does not yet know that the Thane of Cawdor is already dead and that he has been the thane of Cawdor. He lets that get into his head and lets his wife Lady Macbeth interferes so he can become the king as soon as possible. That’s the mistake he made when he decided to do what his wife said and kill the King. That’s why he is now guilty for first degree murder which is a death that was made being pla...
The witches introduced in the first words of the play represent an over arching amount of power, as proved through the trueness of their prophesies. The witches promote Shakespeare’s imagery of illness through the line “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (Shakespeare, 1). This line demonstrates their ill philosophy in regard to everyday life. Shortly after, Macbeth is introduced with the line “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (Shakespeare, 11). Through this line, a direct connection with the ill philosophy of the witches is reflected through the type of the day Macbeth has had. This direct connection and reflection on Macbeth’s life between the witches and Macbeth proves him to be powerless in regards to the witches. The witches oversee the events that take place throughout the course of the play, proving Macbeth to be powerless in regards to the events of the play. Through Macbeth's first spoken line, he is seen as a product of the witches intent and power, therefore leaving him without control of the events of his life, making him powerless.
The quoted phrase, “fair is foul and foul is fair” is used frequently, the phrase itself is an oxymoron. Early in the play the reader sees Macbeth as the hero because he has saved all of Scotland from the Norwegians. Duncan, honoring Macbeth, says, “More is thy due than more than all can pay.” (Act 1, Scene ) Towards the middle of the play the reader suddenly begins to pity Macbeth, slowly realizing his encroaching insanity for what it is, a downward spiral of death and increased mistakes. Finally, at the end of the play, the reader's opinion of Macbeth moves more towards hate and a feeling that Macbeth is unmistakably evil. As the second witch said:
In Macbeth the Witches are shown as being evil, conniving, and cruel. "Here I have a pilot’s thumb, wreck’d, as homeward he did come." The Witches play a major role in convincing Macbeth to kill Duncan. They give Macbeth and Bonquo three prophecies: "all hail Macbeth hail to thee, thane of Cawdor" "all hail, Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter" "thou shalt get kings, though be none." Bonquo doesn’t take these prophecies seriously, but Macbeth shows some ambition for power. "If chance will have me king, why, chance will crown me." Macbeth becomes more dependent to the Witches. In Act 4 scene 1 Macbeth returns to the weird sisters, demanding what the future would bring. The Witches gave him three prophecies: "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff, beware the thane of Fife." "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth" "Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill."
Fair is foul, and foul is fair, a phrase that has become synonym with Macbeth. It is also the introduction to one of the most important themes of this tragedy: appearance and reality. Shakespeare uses various characters and situations to emphasize this confusion between the real and the surreal, the authentic and the fake, the act and the sincere. In order to discuss this theme, different characters will be looked at : in the first paragraph, the Witches, in the second, Duncan and in the third, Lady Macbeth.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses opposites to convey the duality of human nature. In the beginning of the play, the three witches, who later reveal Macbeth’s fate to him, plan where and when they will convene to disclose this information to Macbeth. Before leaving, they all say in unison: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1.1.12). Foul and fair have opposite meanings, but in this passage, Shakespeare uses these words interchangeably. In addition, the identical structure of both phrases only emphasizes the duality of these words, since nothing else has duality in the sentence. Since sentence is separated into two parts and has only two descriptive words, it shows the duality of this statement, and by extension, human nature. With this equivocation filled with duality, Shakespeare portrays the duality of human nature.