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.
They both have various similarities and differences and these comparisons say a great deal about both of their characters. Now, a key difference between Banquo and Macbeth is that Macbeth is already obviously a representation of the Machiavellian concept. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, in this case, the prestigious title, King. As soon as the three witches give him his prophecy, he is engulfed with the hunger, the desire of power. Due to this unrestrained burst of ambition, Macbeth turns to darkness and he begins to act on his thoughts even though when Banquo asks if he ever thinks about the witches’ prophecy, he denies it all.
How do act 1 and 2 conform to the gothic genre in ‘Macbeth’? Shakespeare has structured the play’s first two Acts and their openings in a specific order, to reinforce the gothic mood and emphasise the important themes. In this way, the playwright introduces the witches right at the beginning in Act 1, Scene 1. Establishing the key gothic characters at the start of the narrative is a convention of the gothic genre, as the reader is immediately indicated that there are going to be supernatural elements within the text. Similarly, in Act 2, scene 1, Macbeth goes to murder Duncan.
What influences did he have? Remember his own ambition. Quote (Witches, Lady Macbeth) Who were the people affected by his choice? Discuss how Macbeth is seen by others at the start of play (‘Noble Macbeth’) Do you think it was right for him to do what he did? Discuss time period.
The third witch says, ‘There to meet Macbeth’, this intertwining of Macbeth reflects the relationship which will be made between him and the witches, and the evil which is going to be involved in Macbeth’s life. The arrangement of meeting place shows their target for the forces of evil, and their thorough planning of making an appointment to lure Macbeth to destruction. This scene symbolises the witches as a representation for temptation, therefore foreshadowing Macbeth’s potential human weakness to be susceptible to temptation, before we are even introduced to Macbeth himself. Shakespeare presents Macbeths character as brave and fearless in Scene 2; without Macbeth being present. “Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chaps and fixed his head upon our battlements”, this quotation is said by the captain, who is commending Macbeth for defeating the leader of the rebel army.
This is significant because they foreshadow future events. The witches announce what will happen in the play, revealing little pieces of information to the audience: here we are told of a battle taking place that shall end before the ‘ere of the sun” with one side winners and the other losers, and most importantly it tells us of the future gathering with Macbeth that will take place later on in the play. They also speak in an ironic order, with the first witch speaking followed by the second and then the third, despite being known as agents of disorder and anarchy. Scientifically, lightning comes before thunder and in the play Shakespeare writes ‘in thunder, lightning…’, suggesting that these witches can only create destruction seeing as the order of words is not how it would normally go, just like the order of events in the play. The three witches started the catalyst for Macbeth's ambition with their predictions of promotions to Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland.
Macbeth is associated with the witches as they are waiting for him and their riddles mirror his opening remark to Banquo. Jack is the leader of the choir who, when first introduced, are associated with darkness and presented as some kind of a creature/beast. Both presentations of Macbeth and Jack in the beginning of both texts creates a negative atmosphere where the readers already think of them as bad characters who will do wrong, this is down to the presentational devices of the writer who has decided to portray the characters purposely in that particular way. In both texts, power is linked with the breakdown of morality. Both Macbeth and Jack desire power too much, they get hungry for it and it becomes a corrupting force.
This creates a mysterious and mystical atmosphere, which creates suspicion as to why they are using their powers. The scene starts off with the witches being in a deserted place with thunder and lightning. The sound effects of these elements set the strange atmosphere of the play that Shakespeare wanted to achieve. All these elements give a huge dramatic effect that grabs the reader’s attention making them wonder; what are these witches doing. The presence of the witches introduces us to a dangerous and dark play.
Student Teacher ENG3U Year Macbeth: The Theme of Equivocation According to the Oxford Dictionary equivocation is “a way of behaving or speaking that is not clear or definite and is intended to avoid or hide the truth”. In other words saying parts of the truth and leaving out others. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth the theme of equivocation is portrayed through the witches, the characters, and the apparitions. In the play Macbeth, the witches introduce early on the theme of equivocation through their prophecies. This is illustrated when the witches say: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair, /Hover through the fog and filthy air” (1.1.12-13).
In my opinion, the vision of evil in this play is powerfully presented through the characters of the witches. The “weird sisters” can be seen as supernatural embodiments of evil, as their actions always involve the cruel misleading or suffering of their victims. I think it is significant that the first characters we meet in the play are in fact the witches, as this shows the prevalence of the theme of evil. Early on, we realise that the witches have a great deal of power over events; they have a supernatural knowledge of the future and control over the elements. However, they use their powers for evil purposes, wreaking havoc in the lives of whoever they meet.