In Macbeth, the darkness in the hearts of the characters either disappear or the characters realize what the darkness had done to them. When the images of witches are brought up in any piece of literature, they are usually associated with darkness and/or evil. This is also the case in Macbeth. Shakespeare uses many techniques to enforce this stereotype of witches. He uses pathetic fallacy to convey the dark surroundings as they “Hover through the fog and filthy air” (1 .
. .] It is this synchronizing of nature and fortune that soothsayers study, and that the witches in Macbeth know something about. We call it fate, which over-simplifies it. (88-89) In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson explains the stand taken by Macbeth in his relationship with fate: He pits himself no merely against the threat of hell but also against the enmity of "Fate" (as represented in the prophecies of the Weird Sisters): come, Fate, into the list, And champion me to th' utterance.
As the play continues, with the foreseeing witches and the deceptive lady Macbeth, he quickly turns from a courageous strong hearted man, to a tyrant king who is willing to commit the unthinkable to withhold his royal status. In Macbeth, the prophecies foretold by the three witches about future events enflame our protagonist, driving him to make treacherous decisions that impact severely on his downfall. He is immediately taken in as the witches reveal the royal titles. Eager to unlock the secrets of these prophecies, Macbeth questions the witches, demanding them to speak. "And often to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths."
So they will "hover" in the fog, and in the dust and dirt of battle, waiting for the chance to do evil. Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair" is a paradox, a statement that appears to be contadictory but actually expresses the truth. The witches are foul, but they give fair advice. Macbeth seems like a hero, but he is a plotter and dastard. It is quite interesting to note that the words of the witches will have an echo in Macbeth’s “So foul and fair a day I have not seen”.
“Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes” (I. V. 56). The darkness that Lady Macbeth called upon seems to be the cruelty that she needs to commit her Duncan’s death. This then lets the readers see the image of the scene about to unfold in their mind. Foreshadowing and aside are both Rhetorical devices used Macbeth but they are used in different manners. Foreshadowing plays an important role in Macbeth because most of the action of the play is hinted at before it happens.
First and foremost, the Witches were the root of Macbeth’s misfortunes and evil doings. The Witches show Macbeth three prophecies regarding his past, present and future “All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!”, “All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!”, “All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.”(Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene 3, lines 49-51).
Their equivocation can be clearly seen in the opening scene, where they juxtapose contrasting words in the same lines. “When the battle’s lost and won.” and “Fair is foul and foul is fair”. The usage of these opposing words together underlines the deceptive nature of their speech, and it is this very nature that succeeds in disorientating Macbeth. Shortly after the witches give him the prophecies, Macbeth states in his soliloquy :” This supernatural soliciting/Cannot be ill, cannot be good.” These lines highlight Macbeth’s state of inner conflict and turmoil, as he is indecisive and unsure of how to react to the witches’ predictions of him ascending the throne. This is important in establishing Macbeth as a tragic hero, as the witches undue influence on him lead him to his tragic error of judgment which would lead to his downfall.
While this may not seem to be controlling, the mental affect on Macbeth was more damaging then anything they could have imagined. Macbeth’s mental state from the beginning when they first said the prophecy went on a massive decline sanity wise, were Macbeth could only think about how the witches predicted Banquo’s descendents to take the throne. Later on in the play, an apparition that the witches had summoned up for Macbeth says, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff!
The Importance of the Supernatural in Macbeth Macbeth is deeply influenced by the supernatural occurrences in this playwright. One of the first signs of the supernatural is the three witches that serve as foretellers for Macbeth’s future. Following the witches, there is the ghost of Banquo who completely took Macbeth away from reality and made other people think Macbeth was not well and that he was having hallucinations. The hallucinations or supernatural occurrences such as the ghost may have been caused by the guilt of killing his best friend. The following supernatural occurrence that plays an important role in Macbeth is the floating dagger that leads Macbeth into killing Duncan.
Another prophecy made by the witches was that Banquo's son will be king. Fuelled by paranoia, lack of sleep andvisions, Macbeth was thrown into a state of confusion and a belief that the prophecies were inevitable. Lady Macbeth urged her husband to commit murder and it was this action that sparked Macbeth's downfall. When Lady Macbeth heard about the prophecies made by the witches, and how one of them had already come true, she called upon evil spirits to guide her through her task - killing the king. ."..