How Do Lady Macbeth and the Witches Influence Macbeth in the Murder of Duncan? Essay

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How do Lady Macbeth and the Witches influence Macbeth in the murder of Duncan? At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a noble and valiant general who possesses unwavering loyalty towards Duncan. This version of Macbeth is shattered when his ambition overrides his sense of morality, largely due to two powerful female influences; Lady Macbeth and the Witches. At the time when this was written, women were expected to be subservient to men as part of the natural order of things therefore the idea of women dominating men was quite controversial. The witches create Macbeth’s fate by inciting him of his rise to power, which ignites his latent ambition to achieve greatness. Although Macbeth is warned as to the validity of the prophecies by Banquo (Act 1, Scene 3, lines 131 – 135: “But 'tis strange and oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequence”) he is overwhelmingly tempted by the prospect of success. Lady Macbeth is shown to be a ruthlessly ambitious woman whose only chance to become powerful is to be queen, To secure this prospect, she persuades Macbeth to murder Duncan. As the witches did not specify how their prophecies would be realised, the terrible murder molds the fate that the witches predict. Act 1, Scene 1 is set in an ominous atmosphere of thunder and lightning. This pathetic fallacy is associated with terrible happenings which suggest that the witches are not to be trusted. Shakespeare’s audience would have appreciated this as the belief in the existence and power of witches was widely believed and demonstrated by the European witch phobia, during which an estimated nine million women were convicted. They use many ambiguous terms, for example, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (line 12). This suggests reversal of normal order and unbalance, which lead

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