The Importance Of The Three Witches In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2218 words - 9 pages

The Importance of the Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth
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The witches, who are also known as the three sisters, play an
important part in the play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare. I will
discuss what impact the witches gave to the Elizabethans and what
impact it gave to the play. I will also discuss what the witches look
like and their illusion on the stage and why James I was so scared of
them.

Shakespeare wrote Macbeth as a historical tragedy. Macbeth was a real
king in Scotland for about 17 years but later he died because Malcolm
(the son of Duncan) killed him after a battle. Shakespeare wrote
Macbeth for king James I who ruled Scotland and England.

James I was born on June 19th. In 1566 he because the king of England
(1603-1625) but he was also known as James VI because he ruled
Scotland (1567-1625). James was the only son of Mary queen of Scots so
when she died James took over to be king. Queen Elizabeth was James'
cousin and she died childless so James was made king James I. James
was terrified of witches and felt threatened that witches would cast a
spell on him. So he had every woman that was thought to be a witch
burnt.

The Elizabethans' thought that witches had supernatural powers. They
were associated with the devil. They were believed to be able to see
into the future. They could make you fall ill and they made potions
and could kill at a distance. If they were likely to be a witch they
were to have a familiars by their side. They could be invisible and
could fly; they cause bad weather. All Elizabethans believed this and
were scared and superstitious so if they looked funny or had a cat
they were thought to be a witch. When convicted they were burnt at the
stake. Many women died because of these fears and beliefs.

In Macbeth these witches are very effective. They don't lie but
whatever they say has some truth but can turn out to be bad; they do
play tricks.

The effect of the witches on the audience is very eye catching and a
good way to grab the Elizabethans attention. In the Globe there would
be a lot of noise and people fighting or talking and Shakespeare would
want the attention so he adds the witches. They enter by thunder and
lighting and an old scare inhuman half man half women and beards and
other disgusting features. But of course they speak in a corky voice
with rhymes and riddles while they are on the stage there would be fog
and filthy air and then all of a sudden they would vanish in to thin
air. In scene 3 the thunder would come up again and doing more spells
to tell the audience what harm they could do to scare them. Then
Macbeth and Banquo would come up again there is a great big...

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