The Role of the Witches in Act 1

919 Words4 Pages
Back when “Macbeth” was written, witches where widely believed to exist. King James I was an expert on witchcraft himself. Including witches was probably a wise move as the theatres where constantly under threat from closure so by keeping on the king’s good side by including themes that were relevant to him was a good strategy. The king became fascinated with witchcraft when over 100 witches were tortured and persecuted because of an alleged assassination attempt on the king. He then embraced the Christian belief that witches had made a pact with the devil, and always worked in groups. Eventually healing was also thought to be achieved via a pact with the devil (Until King James was around, there were “bad” witches, known as black witches and “good” witches, known as white witches). This assassination attempt came after the king was visiting Denmark (where the Christian belief on witches was well established) and on his return across the sea, a storm came and destroyed a ship in the fleet and, nearly sank the boat the king himself was on. The blame fell on the witches working in both Scotland and Denmark. These things that the king believed, studied and wrote about are incorporated into the script of Macbeth. First of all is the dramatic setting in scene one. There are 3 witches, working in a group just like the king claimed, and there is thunder, lightening and heavy rain. They talk in strange rhyme that sounds like chanting and use strange paradoxes like “Fair is fowl and fowl is fair.” They mention a civil war and say they will meet again when the battle is over; appearing to know what the outcome will be and they know where to meet Macbeth. The witches are shown to be vengeful and ruthless as when one asks a girl for a chestnut, she casts a storm to kill her husband at sea to spite the girl. This shows paranormal power over the weather and able to

More about The Role of the Witches in Act 1

Open Document