The Purpose of the Witches in Macbeth
One purpose for having the witches in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is to make a comparison between Macbeth's conscious world and Macbeth's unconscious, dream world. In this essay, I will touch upon Sigmund Freud's theories of dreams and the unconscious, and consider the nature of the witches and their relationship with Macbeth. I will also explore the relationship between witches and society, and conclude the essay by considering other roles of the witches in the play.
Sigmund Freud had a theory on dreams and the unconscious, which I believe, applies to 'Macbeth'. Sigmund in 1923 proposed a new dynamic model of the human psyche. He believed that our brain was divided into three principal parts. The 'ID' was the primitive, unconscious; dream world, which he believed, was mainly dominated by primary urges. The 'Ego' he says is the psyche's give in reality and it contains perceptions of which is experienced, the 'Ego' is the part of you which represses your primary urges. The 'Super Ego' segment, Segmund Freud said was your conscience. He said it is like the 'higher authorities'. The 'Super Ego' informs you about what is right or wrong. Freud's theory can be directly related to the play, 'Macbeth'. The 'ID' can be compared to the witches in Macbeth. They both conform to the same principle. The 'ID' is wild it is untamed much like the Witches. They both are uncontrollable, we cannot control our primary desires and the witches in Macbeth are also uncontrollable.
The witches in Macbeth are typical of seventeenth century witches. They have supernatural powers, they can predict the future e.g. Predicting when the battle of Cawdor will end , they can turn into things e.g. Rats, they can 'hover', they can change the weather e.g. 'I'll give thee a wind', they can stop people sleeping. The witches all chant and speak in rhyme and riddle , which is a traditional feature of a seventeenth century 'real' witch. There are three witches. The witches as well as being typical of 'real' witches in the seventeenth century are also disorderly and chaotic like dreams , they both do not keep to spatial reality or time, there are both blurry you never seem to see the full picture , they both show some connection to real life because the witches seem to show what Macbeth desires are and how he can get the, just like a fantasy dream might show what we want and desire. What Macbeth wants is more power and more power for him is to become the king and the witches just like our dreams would present us with what it would be like but the witches go further than dreams and tell him how he could obtain his desires. Both dreams and the witches are unrealistic, they do not conform to an ordinary structure.
Macbeth lived in a hierarchical society where there is order. Macbeth's society honours...