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The Dramatic Impact Of The Witches In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1784 words - 7 pages

The Dramatic Impact of The Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Witchcraft in the 17th centaury was frowned upon by the church as a
result witches were feared and loathed in the community. Many people
thought that they were directly connected to Lucifer (the devil).
Their evidence of this was that the devils familiars came up from hell
and drank the witches blood from devil spots (moles or birthmarks), in
return for this blood he would grant them special powers such as the
ability to fly, foul crops or kill at a glance. As a result of this
propaganda created by the church thousands of innocent people were
tried as witches and burnt at the stake. To be in a 17th centaury
audience and have witches appear on stage would be terrifying and
cause a genial reaction of shock and disgust. Also the king of the
time James the first had an interest in witchcraft specifically the
torture of witches. He even wrote a book demonology which listed all
the horrible means in which to torture a confession out of them. So
adding this to the play may have been Shakespeare's way to please the
king.

Act 1 scene 1 gives a dramatic start to the play arousing our
curiosity over the mysterious identities of the three witches and
creating a puzzling spectacle. This is because when you enter the
scene the witches have almost finished there current meeting and
appear to be planning the next one as they say "when shall we thee
meet again". This creates a feeling of mystery because you do not why
there are an the moor or who they are. The witches themselves heighten
this confusion with there riddling and perplexing language which seems
to flow from one witch to the other as if they were all one being,
such as when they say "When the hurly burleys done : When the battles
lost and won : That will be ere the set of sun". Each witch responds
almost instantly as if continuing the sentence like one being. This
crates the atmosphere of a spell or a chant. This enables them to see
past the present in to the future such as when they say " when the
battles lost and won", this suggests that they already know the
outcome they know more than you. The witches also speak of some very
unusual things that suggests that they are not normal. One of the
oddest things they say is "Hover through the fog and filthy air"
giving you the impression that they can fly. They also chant "fair is
foul and foul is fair", which would make it appear that they have a
warped perception of reality what you would perceive as foul they
would perceive as fair meaning that they can bend the rules a little.
This draws you in because you want to know what mischief they can
create.

In the production that I saw I thought that they carried out this very
well with fantastic lighting and sound affects. The witches were
dressed in simple black...

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