Macbeth Act 3 Scene 5 Analysis

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The extract is taken from Act 3 Scene 5 of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare. It appears that Shakespeare is using this scene to further intensify the mysterious atmosphere and highlight supernatural elements in the play. The scene also serves to highlight crucial aspects of the character and personality of Macbeth which would ultimately prove to be the cause of his downfall.
From the very beginning one can see that Hecate is very angry with the witches as is evident by her referring to the witches as “beldams”, “saucy” and “overbold”. She also questions the witches as to why she was not called to take part in plotting the downfall of Macbeth, evident by her statement; “To trade and traffic … Or show the glory of our art?” The words “trade” and “traffic” (of riddles and affairs of death) highlight the fact that Hecate and the weird sisters are not new to spouting prophecies, spreading evil, and destroying noble men, and have probably been the cause of the downfall of men like Macbeth. Throughout the
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Shakespeare alludes to “Acheron” which, according to Greek Mythology, is the river of Pain. This allusion to Acheron coupled with the fact that Macbeth is going to go to the “pit of Acheron” to know his destiny is a figurative way of drawing audience’s attention to the pain and ill omen which is about to befall Macbeth.
While the first scene involving the witches was kind of playful, the subsequent scenes take a serious turn. Shakespeare uses various allusions to supernatural elements such as “Acheron” (the river of Pain), “vessels”, “charms”, “moon”, which is a very strong symbol of magic and witchcraft, and “spirit” to create a mysterious and ominous atmosphere and these along with diction such as “dismal” and “fatal end” serve to paint a mood of darkness and violence.
Hecate then presents before the audience her grand plan to bring about the downfall of

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