In important respects, the great witch hunts began with the invention of the stereotypical witch in texts by professional demonologists. Prior to the publication of these texts, there was already widespread belief in magic both harmless and malicious. But not until the practice of magic became a religious warfare between God and his enemy the devil did community concerns about the practice of magic evolve into the desperate, sadistic trials that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the idea that witchcraft was a reality rather than a myth suddenly made a comeback. Trials of individual witches in early modern Europe always began with specific accusations brought against a supposed witch by one or more of her neighbours. When the printing press was invented, writings could be distributed around Europe.
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'.
Julio Caro Baroja explains in his book on Basque witchcraft that women who were out casted from society and unable to fulfill their womanly duties became witches as a way to compensate for her failed life. They were thought to be a threat to society as they dwindled in evil magic. This misunderstanding may have originated from the literary works of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, in their published book, “Malleus Maleficarum”. Accusations of being adulterous, liars and dealing with the devil materialized because of the... ... middle of paper ... ...they don’t understand. Reactions of witch-hunts were based on misconceived panic and anxiety of anything outside of the common religious beliefs.
Evil In Women and Its Effect on Macbeth "...My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not." (1.3.140-143). Throughout Shakespeare's play, we see that Macbeth is the victim of evil seduction by women. In the above quote the evil is perpetrated by the witches. Lady Macbeth also plays a strong role in his moral corruption.
To be in a 17th centaury audience and have witches appear on stage would be terrifying and cause a genial reaction of shock and disgust. Also the king of the time James the first had an interest in witchcraft specifically the torture of witches. He even wrote a book demonology which listed all the horrible means in which to torture a confession out of them. So adding this to the play may have been Shakespeare's way to please the king. Act 1 scene 1 gives a dramatic start to the play arousing our curiosity over the mysterious identities of the three witches and creating a puzzling spectacle.
Lady Macbeth as the Real Driving Force Behind the Murder of King Duncan Even though Macbeth is actually the murderer of King Duncan, It appears that he commits this murder reluctantly and should not be blamed for the murder or bear the full responsibility of the murder. The three witches and Lady Macbeth actually played significant roles in cajoling Macbeth into committing the murder and could be argued that Lady Macbeth is the real driving force behind the murder of King Duncan. Witchcraft was a strong influence in Shakespeare's time. People believed in the power of witches and their powers were widely recognised by everyone. The play Macbeth was written as a play for King James Î™, who was actually interested in witchcraft and actually wrote a book about witchcraft, this point's out that witches were taken seriously during His epoch and that many people believed in it.
However the popular conception of a witch has not changed at least since the seventeenth century; they still caused panic, fear and variety of other emotions in people……………………. Witchcraft is the most illogical and despised practices involving the supernatural power. “It implies the ability to injure others. A witch usually acquires his power through an inherent physical factor or through the power of another witch. Witch possess a special organ called mangu, located somewhere behind the sternum or attached to the liver.” Woman/man may become a witch through the influence of another witch or contact with another witch.
But back in the 1600's however, witches were feared and hated. People really believed that they had supernatural powers that enabled them to see into the future, and indeed, change it. Beliefs were black and white in the middle ages. There was a heaven and a hell - God and Satan existed to people as real entities, and witches were perceived as evil, subhuman creatures, servants of the devil himself-as evidenced in Act 1 scene 111, when Macbeth and Banquo first met the witches. "What are these, so wither'd, and so wild in their attire, That look not like th' inhabitants o'th' earth, And yet are on't?
The witches do reassure him with the information that ‘none of woman birth shall harm Macbeth’ but this is not as straightforward as Macbeth thinks because of Macduff’s Caesarean Section. They witches have tricked Macbeth. I don’t think that Macbeth realises this danger: ‘Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?’ The witches trick and tempt Macbeth by advising him to ‘seek no more’ on whether Banquo’s descendants will be kings. This only serves to command the witches to show him. The witches do with relish, to ‘grieve his [Macbeth’s] heart’ This makes Macbeth determined to alter fate.
Consider the use that Shakespeare makes of supernatural elements in the play Macbeth. In the Shakespearean era, there was an eruption of superstition and alleged witchcraft. The people of that time had strong hatred for the ‘devil worshiping’ witches and had various trials and tests to determine their fate. Shakespeare used this as inspiration for his play ‘Macbeth’ We see the character of Macbeth go through a personality transformation after a powerful predicament from Three witches. Starting as the highly thought of thane of Glamis, Macbeth is told he shall become thane of Cawdor and then king.