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. Although the prophecy the witches foresee in Macbeth’s future is news to him, he is shocked and astonished because he has already thought of becoming a king in the past. As the play progresses, Macbeth’s duplicity in character comes through; he is indecisive, guilty and he becomes the worst type of traitor because he goes against God by murdering King Duncan. Macbeth is a character who undergoes a transformation; he leaves his cocoon and morphs into a butterfly, an evil butterfly for that matter. Banquo, Macbeth’s character foil, is one great character.
The critic from library.thinkquest.org is correct in saying that "...the witches did not actually do anything to make Macbeth kill the king. They tempted him, but it was his own ambition that leads him to commit the crime." Although Macbeth's temptation started with the words of witches'; the true cause of his downfall was from his inner struggle, as well as greed and ambition. Macbeth chose to believe he was cursed by fate. In terms of the fate and magical aspect of the play, solid evidence is missing that says that the witches play a part in any kind of magic or fate altering aspects.
The witches are shown as figures that seem to trigger Macbeths murderous ambition, as their prophesy leads Macbeth to first consider killing Duncan, to gain power. But the witches never actually say anything about murder; all they do is tell Macbeth he s going to be King. Macbeth himself as man, questions how, and makes the evil plot, leaving the witches looking as if they are the evil figure. Is there a reason that witchcraft is only represented as evil women? Sexism is displayed through the witches in “Macbeth”.
Throughout Scene 1-4 Macbeth is portrayed as a heroic and valiant man, however with sly and manipulative characteristics brought out by the Witches. The use of structure and language allows Shakespeare to present both Macbeths flaws and weaknesses to the audience. Structurally scene 1 opens with the witches gathered together reciting plans about meeting Macbeth, establishing an occult malevolence which permeates the play. The choice of starting with the witches instantly creates a mood of terror and unearthly evil, setting an unnatural and deceptive atmosphere. 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 witches make 2 predictions about Macbeth: that he will be thane of Cawdor and eventually, king. Banquo is surprised to see Macbeth looking frightened, asking why he would “seem to fear/ Things that do sound so fair…” (1.3). Banquo then demanded the witches speak to him. They told him that his children would be kings (“Thou shalt get kinds, though thou be none…”). After all this, Macbeth was still skeptical and curious of the predictions they had made, and asked them to explain.
Macbeth’s actions are just as poorly chosen as the murder’s that commit the crime today. Macbeth killing anyone in his way is not a way to get to royalty. Succeeding by performing great expectations should be the way Macbeth would want to receive the glory of royalty. Macbeth is seen as good in the beginning of the play for helping his country in fighting against the Norwegian king wanting to harm his familiar surroundings. As the play goes on Macbeth becomes greedy after the mysterious visit of the three witches telling him he will become king.
/ And oftentimes, to win us to out harm, / The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s/ In deepest consequence” (I.iii.121). Macbeth ignores Banquo’s idea, and instead further investigates the concept that he may one day be King. He considers whether the crown will fall into his hands, or if he will have to complete a dark deep in order to obtain it. The witches successfully plant the destructive idea into Macbeth’s head. Macbeth has a huge character flaw.
Even though they don’t actually harm Macbeth, they trick Macbeth and say possible predictions of his future, the witches start out by saying that Fair is foul, and foul is fair (act I, i) with this telling us that everything is apparent fair game to get whatever you want. When they talk to Macbeth they make him think and eventually make him try to become king and kill Duncan even though they never said how he is going to become king. The witches tell Macbeth that he will become the thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland and thou shalt be king here after (Act I, iii). They pretty much poison his good clear mind with these prophesies, which in reality are making him greedy and bringing out the evil that is in everyone’s soul. When the first of the promises is proven true, Macbeth also is thinking what the witches told Banquo which was that “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none” (act I, iii).
He reasons that the witches are evil and not to be trusted “Banquo: That, trusted home,/ Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,/ Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ‘tis strange:/ And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/ The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s/ in deepest consequence” (1.3.129-136) Unlike Macbeth, Banquo is more cautious upon hearing the witches’ prophecies. Although he is an ambitious man himself, he recognizes that they are “instruments of darkness”. Banquo associates the witches with darkness because of their ability to earn Macbeth’s trust by telling him a truth, which he will become the Thane of Cawdor, then feeding into his ruthless ego by prophesying that we will become king. After he hears that he will become king he feels the need to make it come true, even if it means killing Duncan.
/All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. / All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (1.3.46-48). Soon after his prophecy Macbeth hears news of his new title (Thane of Cawdor). This assures him that the witch were true in their words. He then begins about the prophecy of becoming king, which then led to thoughts of murder.