Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Purpose of the Witches

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The Purpose of the Witches in Macbeth One purpose for having the witches in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is to make a comparison between Macbeth's conscious world and Macbeth's unconscious, dream world. In this essay, I will touch upon Sigmund Freud's theories of dreams and the unconscious, and consider the nature of the witches and their relationship with Macbeth. I will also explore the relationship between witches and society, and conclude the essay by considering other roles of the witches in the play. Sigmund Freud had a theory on dreams and the unconscious, which I believe, applies to 'Macbeth'. Sigmund in 1923 proposed a new dynamic model of the human psyche. He believed that our brain was divided into three principal parts. The 'ID' was the primitive, unconscious; dream world, which he believed, was mainly dominated by primary urges. The 'Ego' he says is the psyche's give in reality and it contains perceptions of which is experienced, the 'Ego' is the part of you which represses your primary urges. The 'Super Ego' segment, Segmund Freud said was your conscience. He said it is like the 'higher authorities'. The 'Super Ego' informs you about what is right or wrong. Freud's theory can be directly related to the play, 'Macbeth'. The 'ID' can be compared to the witches in Macbeth. They both conform to the same principle. The 'ID' is wild it is untamed much like the Witches. They both are uncontrollable, we cannot control our primary desires and the witches in Macbeth are also uncontrollable. The witches in Macbeth are typical of seventeenth century witches. They have supernatural powers, they can predict the future e.g. Predicting when the battle of Cawdor will end , they can turn into things e... ... middle of paper ... ... many other possibilities to explore if one wanted a complete understanding of why the witches are in Macbeth. Works Cited and Consulted: Cathell, A.L. "The Diabolic Witches in Macbeth" in Shakespeare Survey: Volume 5. Edited by Allardyce Nicoll Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996 Elliot, G.R. "Introduction: On `Macbeth' as Apex of Shakspearean Tragedy" in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale: 1984) McElroy, Bernard, "`Macbeth': The torture of the Mind" in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale:1984) Ribner, Irving. "Macbeth: The Pattern of Idea and Action," in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale:1984) Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Norman Sanders. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)
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