Discuss the Role of the Witches in Macbeth

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Discuss the role of the witches in Macbeth! I think Shakespeare used the witches in the play because, he was writing for an audience that believed in the formidable powers of witchcraft. Disturbances in the heavens were considered to indicate upheaval and strife and the presence of evil. I think Shakespeare used the witches also to create a sinister atmosphere in the play. The witches appear during thunder and lightning in Act 1 Scene 1. The question of the first witch, “When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” establishes the extent of their powers. The can control the elements at will. There is evidence of their prophetic powers in the third witch’s statement “That will be ere the set of sun.” This, as well would have been a good way for Shakespeare to capture the attention of the audience, which he was writing for. Shakespeare uses this scene to draw in the attention of the audience by starting off with the scene about the witches. He does this because the audience he was writing for believed in witchcraft. In this scene we learn that the witches are servants of evil. The grey cat the first witch calls is commonly thought to be a spirit of Satan in the shape of a cat. The second witch is attended by a toad, also associated with witchcraft. The witches speak in riddles “When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won. “The rhyme in which they speak in gives a sense of incantation. Their chant is calling upon evil to reverse the concepts of good and bad. The witches thunder and lightning, the reference to the “hurlyburly”, the calling out to Graymalkin and Paddock, create a sinister atmosphere. Macbeth’s name is mentioned as they soon wish to tell him the prophecy of him becoming King which leads to the murder of Duncan “There to meet with Macbeth.” Act 1 Scene 3 connects the witches’ power of evil with Macbeth and the
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