18 February 2014
Witches: The Catalyst of Doom
Powerful in nature and curious to the eye, the witches in Macbeth were hooks of fascination. One never knew what would come next when it came to the witches. They possessed a dark authority and supremacy unlike any other and the temptation to ignore them was unfeasible. They brought with them gloomy days and evil thoughts. The witches could draw you in and begin to almost play with your mind if you let them. This is what ultimately led to the down fall of Macbeth. Collectively, the witches in Macbeth acted as a catalyst for all of Macbeth’s actions.
It all began when “three strange figures” who later turned out to be three witches “told [Macbeth] he would become king (Nuttall 1). Macbeth at this time was a loyal kinsman to Duncan, the current king. While it was a thought in the back of his mind that Macbeth would eventually like to take the throne, it never occurred to him that he would have the murder Duncan in order to do so. The witches added turmoil to this idea by talking about Banquo as well and stating that Banquo’s sons will become king as well. This prophecy made it inevitable that murder would eventually take place. Although hesitant at first, Macbeth, with the persistent help of Lady Macbeth, followed through with the murder and took the throne as King. Had the witches not told Macbeth his prophecy, Macbeth would more than likely not have resorted to the tactics and actions it took for him to in due course become king. At this point in the story, Macbeth is not a cold-blooded murderer who he is destined to become later. Duncan’s murder was Macbeth’s first time to kill another man; however, this wouldn’t be his last as a cover-up would be needed. “[Macbeth] require[ed] a clearness” so that his name and authority would not be diminished (III.i.33). Macbeth sent out a group of three hired murderers to kill Banquo so that there was no risk of anyone finding out that Macbeth was in fact the one who killed the king. After Duncan ad Banquo’s death, Macbeth began experiencing hallucinations one night. Banquo’s ghost with “no speculation in [his] eyes” began haunting Macbeth as a result from his guilt (III.iv.95). There is nothing negative about Macbeth's early character to suggest that he would have even thought about killing Duncan without the witches' prophecy. In fact, there is a large quantity of positive character traits; he was promoted to become the Thane of Cawdor for his duty and bravery in batt. Even beyond, if it weren’t for Lady Macbeth’s nagging and questioning if Macbeth was manly enough and would want to “live a coward in thine own self-esteem” would he have followed through with killing (I.viii.43). Had the witches not implanted the idea that Macbeth could become king, then his ambitions would not have taken over as powerfully as they did. Macbeth would more than likely have accepted his position as Thane and Duncan would’ve peacefully returned to his...