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Response To Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

1505 words - 6 pages

Response to Shakespeare's Macbeth

Look very carefully at Act 1, scene 3 (L.30 - 62) and comment on the
significance of the witches' predictions. How do the witches affect
what happens in the play, and how do you visualise them on stage?

Throughout Shakespeare's life, witches and witchcraft were the objects
of fevered fascination. Between 1560 and 1603 hundreds of people
(nearly all women) were convicted as witches and executed. Witches
were credited with diabolical powers. They could predict the future,
fly, sail in sieves, bring on night in daytime and kill animals. They
were thought to have cursed enemies with wasting diseases, induced
nightmares and sterility, and could take possession of any individual
they chose. This brings into the play the idea of fate and the role
with which it has in the play. One can wonder if Macbeth ever had a
chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches.

The three witches in "Macbeth" are introduced right at the beginning
of the play. The first line in the play introduces the witches and
sets the scene perfectly, " Thunder and lightning. Enter three
witches" Immediately the reader get the vision of a remote "desolate
place", as described in the book. In Act 1 Scene 3, the witches meet
Macbeth for the first and time they recount to Macbeth three
prophesies. That Macbeth is Thane of Glamis followed by Thane of
Cawdor and finally he will become King of Scotland. These prophecies
introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness and contribute significantly
to the string of brutal murders that follow. He is spellbound by what
they tell him and he trusts their second sight completely. It is
however; more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for
his own actions throughout the play as in the end it was he who made
the final decisions.

Banquo describes the witches as, "The instruments of darkness tell us
truths" (line123), "Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's" "In
deepest consequence." He thinks and says bad things of the witches. He
calls them "instruments of darkness" and the "devil". He might believe
that these prophecies will only bring harm even before anything begins
to happen. So Macbeth is warned by his best friend before he makes any
decisions that the witches are evil, and what they suggest is evil.

When the witches greet Macbeth and Banquo they do not know of the news
to come. The audience know that the king has sent out a message via
Ross to rewarded Macbeth for his bravery in battle by making him Thane
of Cawdor. To Macbeth and Banquo this means that the prophecy of the
second witch has come true. Macbeth tells himself "the greatest is
behind", it brings to the surface his "vaulting ambition". He writes
to his dearest lady Macbeth, who immediately takes complete control of
the situation and plots regicide against...

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