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'.
), the number three was seen as evil. It was also a magical number because of the holy trinity The ingredients that the witches add to the cauldron are associated with the themes of death: ‘finger of birth-strangled babe.’; crime: ‘grease that’s sweaten from the murderer’s gibbet.’; evil: ‘Tartar’s lips.’; poison ‘adder’s fork’; and damnation: ‘Liver of blaspheming Jew’. These powerful images would have shocked Shakespearean audiences and thus would have thought the witches as overwhelmingly evil. The witches add to this impression of evil by throwing ‘into the flame’ a murderer’s gibbet. This shows that Macbeth will have the same fate as a murderer, being thrown into the flames of hell.
They meet in foul weather and talk of "thunder, lightning" and "the fog and filthy air", giving the audience a first impression that Macbeth is a dark, dangerous play in which the theme of evil is central. Only once in the play are the three weird sisters called 'witches', instead they are called "old hags" and "elemental forces". Shakespeare describes the witches in this way to make them sound more evil so that the audience would dislike them more. Shakespeare used the witches and supernatural influences to present evil scenes and events. As witches were hated at the time that Shakespeare wrote the play, he used the witc... ... middle of paper ... ...h after Guy Fawks' attempt to kill King James I in 1605.
When the play was written in 1600, people in those days believed in things like the witches and they also believed thought that the power and knowledge of the future came from the devil. All this shows why the witches influence Macbeth throughout the play and why are part of Macbeth's struggle between good and evil. The witches start of by giving the audience a clue to what the future holds for Macbeth. "When the battles lost and won," (Act 1, Scene 1) is said by the second witch. This says that every battle is lost by one side and won by another and so Macbeth's fate is that he will win the battle, but will lose his time of victory for the battle of his soul.
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.
The witches have short lines, which are written in rhyme making their words seem like a chant. The language of the witches displays their hatred of all things good, their rhyming couplets contradict each other and emphasises the witches evil: Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air. This quotation is a warning and hint to the audience that things are ... ... middle of paper ... ...iscussed the most relevant points, I have come to the conclusion that the most important portrayal of evil has to be the three witches. I believe they create the first step onto Macbeth's road of destruction. There is a strong contrast on Macbeth's character before and after he meets the witches.
The Witches have malicious intentions and prophetic powers that entice Macbeth and captivate his mind. Although they have no power to compel Macbeth, the Witches appeal to Macbeth’s desires, eventually leading him to his tragic end. The most obvious interpretation of the Witches is to see them as manifestations of evil in the world. They exist to tempt and torment people, to challenge their faith in themselves and their society. The Weird Sisters work on Macbeth by equivocation, that is, by ambiguous promises of some future state.
I am going to write about the different supernatural happenings in Macbeth, each of them leading Macbeth to act sinfully. The supernatural starts the play as the audience are presented with the three witches. Macbeth is told through them what his future is and it immediately gives him evil thoughts: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function (Act one Scene three, lines 139-140) The witches could have put the idea in Macbeths head that he could become king, making him murder or they could have cast a spell on Macbeth making him do terrible things. The witches are thought to be evil characters; they have supernatural powers from the devil: What! Can the Devil speak true?
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.
Macbeth starts to rely on others instead of himself, which ultimately will going to drive him insane. The witches conspire with Hacate “As by the strength of their illusion/ Shall draw spurn fate, scorn dea... ... middle of paper ... .../ Ere human statute purged the gentle weal;/ Ay, and since too, murders have been performed” (III.iv.76-78) the murder that Macbeth has conspired leaks to the public. The heavy amount of stress puts fear and grief in the mind. Reassuring fate through the illusions created through the thought process of Macbeth. Fate determines what happens in a person’s life.