The Weird Sisters of Macbeth are controlling and manipulative; more so than it might seem. They are agents of evil and frequently associate with evil spirits, along with worshiping the malignant goddess of witchcraft, Hecate. The play Macbeth focuses on the demise of a once noble Scottish Thane named Macbeth through the power of chaos. The evil that continually plagues Macbeth throughout William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is ultimately caused by the influence of the three Weird Sisters through witchcraft, prophecy, and unseen influence, revealing that humans faced with forces beyond their control will ultimately descend into a state of chaos. The three witches of Macbeth chant spells and cast charms recurrently in order to bewitch Macbeth so that he will throw the world into chaos.
The witches in Macbeth are very important in the plot and develop certain aspects of the play. They make greater the theatrical experience with images of darkness, thunder and lightning that make Macbeth the tragedy it is. Their actions also add to the play, dancing round the cauldron and chanting ‘Double, double…’. Their appearance as ‘dark hags’ adds mystery to the play. The witches also add a sense of evil and of the supernatural.
From the very beginning of the play, supernatural and unnatural forces have inspired and encouraged Macbeth. They interfere with natural events and completely change the character of Macbeth and his wife. Witches, apparitions, ghosts, and other unnatural images are used to demonstrate the evil effects and consequences those forces can have. Shakespeare is successful in telling his audience that only evil will come when Macbeth or any other person tampers with natural forces for personal gain.
This shows that Scotland is in a state of disorder. The witches also speak in riddles, "fair is foul and foul is fair" which gives the play an uneasy atmosphere, as does their language "Birth strangled babes". The Witches mainly give the play an uneasy feel because they are violating God's natural order. Noise also gives quite a tense atmosphere in the play. When Macbeth goes to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth hears a knell (a traditional funeral bell), an owl shriek and crickets cry.
James I was personally terrified yet fascinated by witches after an attempt on his life by Agnes Sampson, a convicted witch. This led to the practice of witchcraft becoming punishable by death. A theme of such forbidden ideas, shrouded in the mystery of the supernatural would surely have horrified those watching the play yet left them intrigued. The witches embody a malign and demonic intelligence. They utilise this to guide the main themes and characters within the play, notably by their reversal of nature when chanting 'Fair is foul and foul is fair'.
Shakespeare begins the play with the witches for several reasons. First, the fact that they are witches portrays many evil themes since witches are a universal symbol for an advocate of the devil. They themselves foreshadow malign events to come. For example, to add to the witches’ representation of evil, the clichéd background is that of thunder and lightening, which also represents wickedness and confusion. Shakespeare also uses the witches to give some background to the play; they decide to meet with Macbeth “when the battle’s lost and won”.
In the wake of listening to the prescience told by the "wyrd" sisters (the three witches), Macbeth is loaded with need and develops into an aggressive man for expecting the throne, and being delegated as the thane of cawdor. All around the play, the ladies are always associated with evil, right from the earliest starting point of the play, beginning with the "wyrd" sisters. The three witches are indicated as vindictive creatures. They give of a quality like being an evil figure, who controlled each persons 'fate', and likewise, they were women. The agnostic part of the three witches is held with their examination to the Fates and the showcase their disagreeable behavious, for example, making potions.
The Importance of the Theme of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth The supernatural in Elizabethan times was seen as a very real threat to society. The public thought that there were such things as witches who could perform acts of the supernatural such as turning humans into animals and causing changes in the weather. Any mention of the supernatural in these times scared the public and many people, mainly women, were executed on the thought that they were witches. In the beginning of the play, as the 3 witches meet, they suggest another time. "When shall we three meet again?
Through their manipulating they are able to lead Macbeth to his demise. Shakespeare uses wyrd and the Witches to foreshadow and steer the story, and depict the struggle between the supernatural and natural world. From the very beginning, it is evident that the Three Witches control much of what is going to
The Presentation of Witches in Macbeth In the opening scene of the 1978 stage version of Macbeth the first impressions we get of the witches are that they look strange as well as intimidating because of their facial expressions. The director has used stage lights to focus on the three witches, by doing this the effect is has is that it makes the witches look powerful and in control. The director has also produced a stereotypical view of witches as they are dressed in black and are chanting and cackling. By doing this it makes us think that the witches are up to no good and dangerous, as these are a few things we sometimes associate with witches. By using thunder, lightning and rain in the opening scene this lets us know that there could be trouble ahead in the play, as it represents danger to come or trouble already present, for example, the witches may be cursing someone.