The Role of the Witches In Macbeth and Their Responsibility for Macbeth's Tragic End

The Role of the Witches In Macbeth and Their Responsibility for Macbeth's Tragic End

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The Role of the Witches In Macbeth and Their Responsibility for Macbeth's Tragic End

The role of the witches in the play Macbeth depends on the nature of
the audience. Initially, the Elizabethan audience consider Macbeth as
a respectable and well-liked character. We do however learn that
appearances can be deceptive which corresponds with the main theme of
the play; "Fair is foul, foul is fair". This theme is first introduced
in Act 1, Scene 1 where the witches foretell the struggle between the
forces of good and evil in which Macbeth is to be involved. It is also
an indication that all will not be as it seem s. This portrays a
character as being much worse if the audience's first impressions of
that character were positive.

We must also take into consideration that during the reign of James I
of England, Shakespeare's audience believed in God and the devil, and
heaven and hell.

They believed in evil spirits, power of possession and in witchcraft
and magic. James I was both interested and terrified of the practice
of witchcraft, which led him in writing the book Daemonologie and also
getting parliament to pass a law promising death to anyone practising
or suspected of practising in witchcraft.

When Christianity was established, the works of the devil became
associated with witches. Therefore it was important to Shakespeare to
introduce the witches at an early stage in the play, as they
immediately contrast Macbeth's character as being a good upstanding
individual to the audience.

The witches are the physical manifestation of evil itself, and they
bring temptation, malice and disaster with their visit upon hapless

... middle of paper ...

... strength to kill the king. Lady Macbeth completely ignores the first
influence of loyalty to Duncan, her influence is completely self
motivated and originated in her own mind. She takes advantage of
Macbeths's original motivation, his ambition, and uses that to decide
what he must do. Lady Macbeth also appears to be made of a sterner
substance than her husband, or at least is more committed to the deed.

It should be noted that she does not actually have to kill Duncan; so
most of the strength she has to build up goes into convincing Macbeth
that it is a good idea. Her influence on Macbeth in this matter is
obviously great. He's not too fond of the idea, but Lady Macbeth tells
him he must commit murder to fulfill his destiny. And every time he
tries to reconsider, she persuades him yet again to continue with the

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