Macbeth And The Influence Of Witchcraft

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Influence of Witchcraft In Shakespeare’s day witches were not merely a novelty character brought out as a joke around Halloween. It was widely believed that witches were real and that they possessed powers that were considered to be of the devil. This belief in witchcraft eventually led to a widespread panic that was followed by the persecution of witches. Due to this belief in witchcraft at the time Macbeth was written and performed; the tone was already set. Shakespeare used this fear to create suspense within the play and it led to the involvement of the weird sisters and the crazed actions committed by Macbeth and his wife. The first Stuart King of England, King James I was one of many who believed in witchcraft, so much that it led to…show more content…
In the play one of the witches asks a woman to give her something to eat and she responds by promptly telling the witch to go away. “Most often, it was old, poor, often widowed women who were accused of these acts of angry revenge” (Levin). The witches are Macbeth is also described as “So wither’d and so wild in their attire” (Shakespeare Act 1). One of the witches ask for food, they are withered and dressed in strange clothing. They meet all the 16th-17th century markers for who a witch was and what they looked like. The play had a realistic representation of women who were accused of being witches. In that day those accused of being such were sentenced to death, evidently the fear was real and it led to horrible…show more content…
Before the main character has any part in the play the witches start it off in ominous mutterings about wicked acts and the future. The fear among the audience is set before Macbeth even thinks about killing anybody. Macbeth is then told by the witches about things that are supposed to happen in his future, and assuming they are telling the truth he believes them. Not only does he believe them but he himself commits acts that make them come true. This is another representation of how people believed they could be affected by witches. People in that time would blame others of witchcraft for being even a tiny bit more successful than them. This shows through in the play not just because the actual evidence of witchcraft but also because of what Macbeth turns into. A lot of people believe that Macbeth wouldn’t have killed Duncan if the weird sisters had not shared their prophecy. However, Macbeth commits these actions because of what he wants and the witches are used as a scapegoat for his actions. This is much like how people who fell short in raising their crops or not producing milk for their child blamed others for their

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