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Witches: The Catalyst of Doom in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Witches: The Catalyst of Doom

Powerful in nature and curious to the eye, the witches in Macbeth were hooks of fascination. One never knew what would come next when it came to the witches. They possessed a dark authority and supremacy unlike any other and the temptation to ignore them was unfeasible. They brought with them gloomy days and evil thoughts. The witches could draw you in and begin to almost play with your mind if you let them. This is what ultimately led to the down fall of Macbeth. Collectively, the witches in Macbeth acted as a catalyst for all of Macbeth’s actions.

It all began when “three strange figures” who later turned out to be three witches “told [Macbeth] he would become king (Nuttall 1). Macbeth at this time was a loyal kinsman to Duncan, the current king. While it was a thought in the back of his mind that Macbeth would eventually like to take the throne, it never occurred to him that he would have the murder Duncan in order to do so. The witches added turmoil to this idea by talking about Banquo as well and stating that Banquo’s sons will become king as well. This prophecy made it inevitable that murder would eventually take place. Although hesitant at first, Macbeth, with the persistent help of Lady Macbeth, followed through with the murder and took the throne as King. Had the witches not told Macbeth his prophecy, Macbeth would more than likely not have resorted to the tactics and actions it took for him to in due course become king. At this point in the story, Macbeth is not a cold-blooded murderer who he is destined to become later. Duncan’s murder was Macbeth’s first time to kill another man; however, this wouldn’t be his last as a cover-up would be needed. “[Macbeth] require[ed] a clearness” so t...

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...hey ignite reactions that result in fate with an almost good-humored behavior. They give Macbeth knowledge that causes him to make decisions he would not and could not have made without that knowledge. To remove these three characters would remove the origin of the motivations of Macbeth's actions, from his murder of King Duncan to his own tragic defeat. Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macduff, Young Siward, Macbeth himself - they would all still be alive had the witches not awoken ambition and fear in Macbeth's heart. The “audience's [belief] of whether or not the witches actually have power over Macbeth influence their interpretation of whether his actions result from personal choice or from external influence” (Riedel 1). The witches are an important part of Macbeth's plot, as the information they reveal sets things in motion. They are the catalysts of Macbeth’s demise.
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