Use Of Witchcraft In Macbeth

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Macbeth has become one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, and has been enjoyed and speculated over by many. The supernatural element of the play, which appeals to both the modern and Shakespearean audience, adds to the dramatic effect of the plot and to the general imagery of the play. His inclusion of witches would shock an audience of his day, while teasing a modern audience with the big question their presence imposes- Is Macbeth acting of his own desire? It is not known whether Shakespeare intended this question to surround the play, but nevertheless it is one of the reasons for it’s reputation as one of his better plays. The way a play looks on stage is as important as how it is written. For this reason, Shakespeare includes a lot of stage directions and hints in the wording of the play as to how the witches look and act. For instance, in Act 1 scene 1, the stage directions ask for “Thunder and lightning” when the witches enter. This would immediately associate them with evil, because in Shakespeare’s time, witches were often blamed for bad weather, as it ruined harvests. Pathetic fallacy also allowed Shakespeare to communicate to his audience through his stage directions as well as his words creating a atmosphere of tension and fear. It is clear to see that the witches were meant to be dressed in a certain way, as Banquo describes them as being ”withered and wild in their attire”- however these words have been open to interpretation, and the witches have been portrayed in many different ways, from children to homeless people. The witches are, however, meant to be dressed in a way which makes them easily identifiable to the audience, and makes them appear different to other less supernatural characters in the play. When the play was first performed, they would have most likely been dressed as the stereotypical view of witches; allowing that audience to

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