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'.
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.
Now Macbeth is dependant on the witches. He demands these prophecies rather than have them thrust upon him, this is a terrifying scene and near the end of it is a show of eight kings the last with a glass in his hand: Banquo followed. Macbeth is greatly distressed all these murders show the depths of degradation to which he has sunk. The witches played the greatest part of Macbeth’s downfall and what a great downfall it was.
Consequently both eras were times of fear and turmoil. The witches reflect this; they create a threatening, and unsettling atmosphere and go onto exert a profound influence of the events of the play. Shakespeare also wrote ‘Macbeth’ at a time when belief in witchcraft was much stronger; their appearance on the stage would have had a powerful impact on the audience. That time people believed that the witches could fly and cast evil spells. King James I was also personally terrified of witches because he believed a group of them had raised a storm to drown to try and drown him then had made a wax image to make him sicken and die.
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. The witches are instrumental in beginning the action that prompts so much catastrophe. After Banquo and Macbeth discovered them and heard their expectations, Banquo is distrustful of their recognitions of Macbeth. He considers the witches to be fiends, by comparing them with evil. He senses mischief and misdirection in their tendency.
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’.
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.
The Weird Sisters of Macbeth are controlling and manipulative; more so than it might seem. They are agents of evil and frequently associate with evil spirits, along with worshiping the malignant goddess of witchcraft, Hecate. The play Macbeth focuses on the demise of a once noble Scottish Thane named Macbeth through the power of chaos. The evil that continually plagues Macbeth throughout William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is ultimately caused by the influence of the three Weird Sisters through witchcraft, prophecy, and unseen influence, revealing that humans faced with forces beyond their control will ultimately descend into a state of chaos. The three witches of Macbeth chant spells and cast charms recurrently in order to bewitch Macbeth so that he will throw the world into chaos.
), 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.
Shakespeare begins the play with the witches for several reasons. First, the fact that they are witches portrays many evil themes since witches are a universal symbol for an advocate of the devil. They themselves foreshadow malign events to come. For example, to add to the witches’ representation of evil, the clichéd background is that of thunder and lightening, which also represents wickedness and confusion. Shakespeare also uses the witches to give some background to the play; they decide to meet with Macbeth “when the battle’s lost and won”.