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 contrasts wickedness with innocence to make the brutality of the play appear worse. It is clear from the start of the play that the witches are important, in just the first scene before they say anything the atmosphere is already set as evil. They meet on a moor in thunder and lightning, which grabs the audience's attention. These surroundings portray evil; the moor is lonely, barren and bleak, whilst thunder and lightning assist in creating a supernatural image to place the witches. The witches have short lines, which are written in rhyme making their words seem like a chant.
In line 45, the witches, when they hear Macbeth knocking, say ‘Something wicked this way comes’. This is ironic as the witches, who are evil are calling Macbeth evil. This shows that Macbeth is the most evil character in the play. In line fifty and onwards, Macbeth is... ... middle of paper ... ... he is so insecure. 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 meet in foul weather and speak of lightning, fog and filthy air. This introduces ‘Macbeth’ as a dark, dangerous play in which evil (created by witches) is central to the plot. “Fair is foul and foul is fair” these words contradict each other... ... middle of paper ... ... greatest prize is near. Macbeth appears to have immediate proof to believe that the witches know the future. Macbeth seems to be under the witches spell.
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.
In line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one. The witches’ line reflects on human nature as there are fair and foul parts to everyone. Shakespeare wanted to get this message across as the main character, Macbeth, is a prime example of the struggle between good and bad within one person. This opening scene is set in a battle field. The scary thunder and lightening is an example of pathetic fallacy; the weather reflects the aggressive atmosphere and vicious characters.
His rule brought upon anarchy and chaos in a once peaceful kingdom. His unchecked ambition and power was not the only factor to bring him to the edge but also the push from the alluring prophecies made by the witches that tempted him to do things he should not have done. The witches incantation in Act 1 Scene 1 of what is foul becomes fair and what is fair becomes foul is the main connection to the theme of disordered nature (Shakespeare, 272). Due to witchcraft, what was good turned bad and what was bad turned good a disorder nature of the world.
Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely: A Symbolic Literary Analysis of Shakespeare’s Macbeth Corrupt according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary means “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions ” (Corrupt). This definition epitomizes exactly what Macbeth evolves into throughout this work with the influence of the witches. The witches in this piece symbolize the evil found in human nature and how it can affect man in many ways. This symbolization is further enforced by the overall theme of choice. A choice always has two sides, for if it did not, then it in fact would not be a choice.
Macbeth’s Evil Witches The witches are seen as being evil. This is because at the time, witches were accepted as being real and evil. Shown in the play because the first scene is thunder and lightning, which is associated with terrible happenings and things so suggests witches are terrible things. They speak in rhymes and use many equivocal terms e.g. ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair’.
Atmosphere and Setting in Macbeth Atmosphere and setting plays a very important part in Macbeth. The play starts with the Witches, which is at a desolate place with thunder and lightning. This is first of all a pathetic fallacy because of the weather being so bad and the hideous appearance of the witches. This scene also gives us the first sign of the supernatural. The witches are the man source of the evil and supernatural in the play and they also give an impression of fear, horror and mystery.