The Role Of The Witches In Macbeth

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In his book, William Shakespeare, Terry Eagleton offers a controversial insight to the role of the Witches in Macbeth. Eagleton views the Witches as the heroines of the drama for exposing the truth about the hierarchal social order describing it as, the pious self-deception of a society based on routine oppression and incessant warfare (Eagleton 1986:2). This essay will explore the implications of Eagleton’s insights, showing that even though they are controversial and original, they can very well be accurate. This will be done taking into consideration the historical context of the play, the role of the Witches as agents of fate and darkness, as well as the influence of masculinity and a hierarchal social order in the play. William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth during the early 1600s. During this time the Elizabethans believed in the Chain of Being (Donaldson 2015:15). This belief determined that everything in the Universe had an order or rank, with God fulfilling the highest of these. The King, would then represent God on Earth (Melani 2009:1). The more “spirit” a person had, the more power he would then also have. Together with this there was a social hierarchal divide that existed between the aristocracy and freemen.…show more content…
People both hated and feared these creatures. Traditionally scholars consider the Witches in Macbeth to represent darkness and chaos. They are also considered to be the connection with the supernatural world. Mondal ([sa]:1) states that they have the ability
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