The Dramatic Impact of The Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Dramatic Impact of The Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Witchcraft in the 17th centaury was frowned upon by the church as a

result witches were feared and loathed in the community. Many people

thought that they were directly connected to Lucifer (the devil).

Their evidence of this was that the devils familiars came up from hell

and drank the witches blood from devil spots (moles or birthmarks), in

return for this blood he would grant them special powers such as the

ability to fly, foul crops or kill at a glance. As a result of this

propaganda created by the church thousands of innocent people were

tried as witches and burnt at the stake. 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


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. This is because when you enter the

scene the witches have almost finished there current meeting and

appear to be planning the next one as they say "when shall we thee

meet again". This creates a feeling of mystery because you do not why

there are an the moor or who they are. The witches themselves heighten

this confusion with there riddling and perplexing language which seems

to flow from one witc...

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apparitions appeared in the air as giant flouting holograms I thought

that this was very effective as it provided visual stimulus to the


At the end of the production that I saw they added an extra scene

where after Macbeths death the witches stand and point at Fleance, as

if to say that he will be next in there makings of mischief. This

raises the question of how much the witches are to blame for the whole

proceedings , I believe that the witches are not completely to blame

and are infant just a catalyst as they never actually told Macbeth to

kill the king they just gave him a prophecy of what might happen but

his ambition was to great and his impenitency to have what was

promised, as Banquo said "The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence.