,1 ENG 3U104 December 3, 2013 Macbeth Essay: Macbeth By William Shakespeare Shakespeare’s Three Witches, or Weird Sisters, are very important characters within his timeless tale of Macbeth. The Witches answer to the “fates of mythology” (Dover Wilson) by showing people prophecies and apparitions. These Witches are more important within the play than people understand. They have a calamitous affect on the protagonist within Macbeth, and all the characters associated with him. After a protracted discussion of the topic of who is to blame for the demise of Macbeth, the blame has come to rest upon the Three Witches.
The witches are characters that incite action by prophesying to Macbeth: “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (1.3.51). They demonstrate their connection to the supernatural and their ability to control aspects of it. The very look of the witches suggests their strong tie to the supernatural. Banquo himself states, in repulse of the witches: “What are these, so withered and so wild in their attire, that look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ Earth” (1.3.39-41). The witches not only appear to be supernatural, they also control the supernatural by using spells and prophecies.
Greed is the sin that causes Macbeth to commit murder; killing Duncan to secure the crown for his taking. Macbeth continues to make decisions based on what the witches tell him will come true. The witches’ prediction that Banquo will father a line of kings for Scotland motivates Macbeth to kill him for the same reasons at Duncan, to secure the crown. These actions played out by Macbeth are due to prophesy’s he has been told, but he is still responsible for the actions he has made. Along with greed, Macbeth’s actions are caused from his fear of losing the
The prophecies told to Macbeth by the Witches were one of the factors that contributed to the degeneration of his character. The prophecies made by the witches aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could become King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies more and more on the witches prophecies. The influence of Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth also contributes to his degeneration of character. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play as she provides a scheme for Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan.
However, because Lady Macbeth has ambition beyond her status, she wants him to become King as soon as possible. The only problem for Lady Macbeth is she feels Macbeth is too nice to kill Duncan. She says “it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”, which shows Lady Macbeth thinks of her husband as a coward. The soliloquy used by Shakespeare truly shows the disturbed mind of Lady Macbeth; creating an unsettling affect on the audience through his representation of her as a scheming and dangerous character. The use of imagery reveals that witchcraft was a fascination of Elizabethan England.
Lady Macbeths plots against killing king Duncan which is God’s appointed monarch, so by murdering him she is going against God which makes her more fiend like. Lady Macbeth shows outstanding displays of will-power, quick thinking and resourcefulness until after the banquet scene were Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost. She saves Macbeth on occasions where he has been in a helpless state, losing all ability to act
Macbeth is the real villain and Lady Macbeth is just a partner in crime, egging him on because of her desire to be Queen. Macbeth was loyal to his King and was an excellent soldier. However his wife, Lady Macbeth could see a better future for Macbeth as King after Macbeth tells her about the witches and their prophesies in a letter. Despite these conflicting ideas, it was Macbeth himself who decided to murder Duncan and the others. It seems that most people believe that Macbeth is the real villain of the play, after firstly killing the King but then Banquo and Macduff’s family but through Macbeth’s own ambition and desire for power, Lady Macbeth was able to manipulate and evoke weaknesses in Macbeth’s character to cause his respectable needs as a loyal solider, to turn into evil motivations.
Another mysterious scene is where they meet Macbeth and disappear into the air. Act 1 scene3 line 77 shows the stage direction of when they vanish. One other mysterious point was where the witches spoke in riddles in which to confuse Macbeth's mind. This is shown continuously; however one of the riddles describes Macbeth turning from thane of Glamis, to thane of Cawdor then to king "All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor" "all hail that shall be king hereafter." This shows that the witches were also supernatural as they could see the future.
Shakespeare further cultivates Macbeths quickly changing character through soliloquy and dramatic irony. His success in doing so is disclosed as the once ‘noble’ Macbeth goes against all odds to convey his idea of fulfilling the witches’ prophecies: to kill King Duncan. Macbeth also notifies us that to even anticipate slaughtering the sacred King is an act of treachery and betrayal nonetheless he delivers himself as quite motivated and determined to do so. The “horrid image”, “doth unfix” his hair and make his “seated heart knock”; his lust for ultimate power poisons his loyalty and decays at his integrity. As the play moves on, the audience observe the hasty crumbling of his devotion to God and the King.
Guilt is constantly seen throughout the play Macbeth driving the characters to question their morals. To the responder it appears that Lady Macbeth is the driving force behind the initial killing of King Duncan influencing her husband Macbeth to commit the evil deeds by threatening him with his man hood by saying “when you do it, then you are a man”. Her tone portrays her dominant nature and her hunger for authority and demonstrates to the responder her strength as a character. However her over confident traits and clear and concise thinking is diminished once the guilt of the crime poisons her conscience. This is demonstrated by her imagining her hands stained by blood and her constantly trying to clean the “damned spot” away and rid her sole of the guilt.