The Three Witches are evil and powerful woman who have the supernatural spirit. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”(1.1.11) The Witches are telling us that there is good and evil, nothing is as it seems. The Witches tell Macbeth that he will be the thane of Cawdor and second that he will be King of Scotland. This puts Macbeth in a position where the Witches tell him to do something about his future, even if it means betraying his own King. “All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
Throughout the entire play, Abigail Williams uses her good name to control Salem by accusing people of witchcraft, which results in the deaths of many people in the town. After witnessing Tituba confess to Reverend Hale, Abigail confesses “I saw Sarah Good with the devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil!” (Miller 189). Abigail realizes that by giving the names of people she saw with the devil she can control Salem because she has a good name and people will listen to her.
Macbeth desire to be king causes him to believe the witches for their prophesies have come true before. He is unable to see the witches as the most dangerous characters in the play. Without the witches playing upon Macbeth’s ambitions, it is doubtful that Macbeth would have committed the murders. The witches play the part of the instigators, and help Macbeth to continue his acts of violence. Even though they are able to see that his acts will lead him to his downfall, they continue to let him kill others.
The truth is that many of these decisions that Macbeth makes or follows is based on what the witches told him. One example of this is when Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill Duncan in order to become king. She specifically says, “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be / What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature / … / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, / and chastise with the valor of my tongue” (1.5.16-17, 27-28). In this quote Lady Macbeth is thinking about the witches prophecy and how she can make it come true.
This vindictive hatred from Abigail soon prompts a witch hunt involving many innocent people: “Twelve have already hanged for the same crime.” While many panics, John Procter knows this from the start ; “this is a whore’s vengeance”. He tersely identifies the main cause for the witch trials to be directly linked with a spurned lover, who has become disemployed by Procter after having a brief extra-marital affair with her. Still overwhelmed with lustful feelings for John Procter, Abigail decides to manipulate the situation by accusing innocent people of witchcraft, to achieve her own revengeful goal. Abigail is not the only one who takes advantage of the witch trials, to accomplish their revenge. Thomas and Ann Putnam, as a resentful and greedy couple, will take it out on anyone who has caused them trouble.
The Witches and Hecate portray the image and eminence of evil in Macbeth. During the first scene of the play, the witches are chanting and cackling over thunderstorms, thus introducing themselves as evil beings. They are questioned by Banquo if they are truly women and that “...their beards forbid [me] to interpret that you are so” (I. iii. 44-45), and Hecate is introduced as the goddess of witchcraft. The remark made by Banquo and the title of Hecate states that Shakespeare intends to use repulsive-looking women, mistakenly having beards, to render that women are predominately evil.
They thought that the devil had the ability to enter a person's body and turn them into a witch. If something out of the ordinary happened or someone acted in an unsavory matter, they would often blame it on a witch. Cotton Mather, who was the Puritan Church leader and was very respected, made a statement that claimed that there were devils and witches in New England. Anything he said was taken seriously by the majority of the Puritan population. This statement probably influenced them and increased their paranoia that there were witches living among them.
There are some that may blame those very witches that Macbeth encounters as he and Banquo make their way home from the battlefield. Before this meeting, I cant help but to think that Macbeth was fiercely loyal to me and to Scotland. I thought that he was a very valiant warrior against the Norwegian forces. But those mischievous, evil witches, through their ridicolous prophecies, planted the seed in Macbeth's mind of becoming Thane of Cawdor and king. Once I gave him the title of Cawdor, he so thoughtlessly believed in the witches' power and fell willingly under their spell.
The first scene of Macbeth strikes the keynote of the play. The deserted and mysterious location, the wild storm, the appearance of the witches, all help to prepare the audience for a drama in which a human soul succumbs to the supernatural suggestions of evil and ranges itself along with the witches on the devil's side. In the opening scene of the play, thunder and lightning occur when the three infamous witches show up. This suggests that the three devilish creatures bring stormy weather with them, which causes disorder in the atmosphere. Already there is an implication of supernatural powers and evilness from the witches’ behalf, since they have the power to create storms and other gloomy atmospheric disturbances.
Significantly, the witches open the play, a further indication of their importance to the plot. The first thing that we notice is that they are being identified with dark powers and chaos. The stage directions tell us that they meet during a storm. In order to make them seem particularly powerful and different from other characters, Shakespeare has them speaking in rhyming couplets, “When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain.” Not only do these opening lines introduce the witches’ speech patterns, they also establish their powers as they can predict the weather and control it. The weather conditions when they meet can all be linked with the theme of chaos and disorder, which foreshadows their role within the play as it is their predictions which awaken the seeds of ambition within Macbeth.