The Role of Witches in Act 1 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

The Role of Witches in Act 1 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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The Role of Witches in Act 1 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth

The people of England endured a lot during its vindictive and powerful
history. Reformation both in politics, economy and especially in
religion had created a more independent England.

Henry VIII had broken away from the disintegrating yet more prevailing
and orthodox Catholic Church, for his desire to gain a divorce from
his current wife. It was customary in the Catholic Church that only
the Pope could grant a divorce, and so the Pope refused to bestow one.
The breakaway created an independent Church of England with a new
state religion adopted called "Protestant", in which the king was the
head of the Church. There were significant amendments in types of
worship, but both Catholics and Protestants worshipped the same God
and utilised the Bible as its prayer book. One factor that created
unity between the two Churches was the Christian belief of heaven and
hell. Of all the beliefs, this was the only one that kept the local
population religious and law-abiding. The belief was that anybody who
led a good Christian life would be awarded with heaven for eternity,
and individuals who didn't would proceed to hell for eternity. The
basis of Christians going to hell was sin, and the devil was the
master and performer of sins. The people of England held the
superstition that witches were the agents of the devil, and created
evil upon the nation and caused sin.

By 1606, people believed in witchcraft because it elucidated things
they had little knowledge of and which could not be explained by
rational thought at that time; factors such as why people became ill
or why storms s...

... middle of paper ...

between good and evil means that as soon as he meets the witches they
influence him. However, If Macbeth had listened to Banquo then perhaps
the tragic events to follow could have been stopped.

The witches in the play are really important in terms of politics,
because they support the beliefs of James I, who took a keen interest
in the play. This would eventually provide an income to the actors and
the theatre company. This play not only benefited the actors but also
provided entertainment that no one could provide. "Macbeth" is one of
Shakespeare's greatest tragedies: a drama of crime and punishment, of
temptation, guilt, remorse and retribution.

The witches offer great enticement, but it is in the end, each
individual's decision to fall for the temptation, or be strong enough
to resist their captivation.

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