Macbeth by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. It was written at the time of King James, and it is relevant as you read on. King James was attracted to witches, and the play includes many matters that interest him. Macbeth as a character is very expendable, thinking and mostly unpredictable. The way Shakespeare uses Macbeth and Lady Macbeth I unique. The play is very powerful in terms of evil and lessons in life. The moral is that there are no shortcuts in life.
In the eleventh century Scotland was a violent and troubled country. Families and clans fought for any sort of territory. Macbeth was born in 1005, son of the great family that ruled Moray and Ross.
Throughout Shakespeare's life, witches and witchcraft were the article of morbid fascination. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 16,000 people were killed burned to death (nearly all women) were convicted of being witches. There were hundreds of pamphlets describing the lurid details of witchcraft trails. These were women who were convicted.
The function of the witches is to introduce uncertainty in to the play. We are never really sure what they are able to do, how strong their influence on Macbeth is, for example.
The witches open the play with great dramatic force- this is something which would certainly shame late comers to the seat. There is thunder, there is lightening- things are not right in the world of nature, and then there are some weird, hag like creature say they come to meet Macbeth. This would make our full attention on the women, as they have named the person who the play is about. We as the audience think what are they? What can they want from Macbeth? Where have they come form?
The witches are also part of the play because of the social history of the time. The King of Scotland-James was himself interested in witches (his wife had been practised against, and he wrote his own treatise on witchcraft.)
Shakespeare was the sort of playwright whom liked a full hose at his plays: making sure you dealt with a topic which you known your king was interested in, guaranteed this. He actually went further than this and included the King in the play.
The witches' influence or the potential of their influence upon Macbeth is also part of their role. Although, at times, we see limitations of their power- they can not do, for instance, sink the boat the Captain of Tiger is sailing in, but they can toss it about a lot in a storm, (as they have power to central weather). There are lots of other times when we see their power, e.g. they are able to disappear in to thin air; they look into Macbeth's future and greet him before his time with 'Thane of Cawdor'
When Macbeth allows himself to be influenced by them, when evil has its foothold in the door, then everything becomes topsy-turvy and things fall into chaos- the heavens are unhappy animals attack one another, and nobody knows who to trust.
"There's dagger in men's smiles: the near blood,