Witchery In Macbeth

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Witches have existed throughout human history. There are references to witches in myths, the bible, oral stories, plays, and novels. One of the most well known record of witches, is in the play Macbeth. Shakespeare wrote this play during a time when many people were being convicted of witchery. Shakespeare wrote this play for King James, taking into account the king’s passion for witches. King James’s fascination for witches has continued throughout history. Even today, witches continue to be a subject of books and documentaries. A contemporary documentary on television, Ancient Mysteries - Witches, delves into the history of witches. This a good background for understanding Shakespeare’s portrayal of the witches in MacBeth. Shakespeare took …show more content…

“Women were sexually vulnerable beings easy prey for the devil.” (Ancient Mysteries Witches, 1996, 18:02 -18:12). In the early 1600s women were considered weaker, less important, more vulnerable so it only made sense that they were the evil ones (Ancient Mysteries Witches, 1996). Historically the men didn’t understand women so they placed labels on them. Which is why some people referred to the three witches as the weird sisters. This shows them as being women. “As the weird women promised, and, I fear,” (Shakespeare & Lott, 1965, Act III Scene I). Shakespeare made them women because he didn’t want to go against what King james experienced and knew about witches. One of the main things that King James knew was that witches were mainly women. As he has been known to supervise to the torture of women that were accused of being a witch.(Wikipedia, n.d.) At the time being a witch was seen as worshipping the devil through meetings, witchcraft and going against religious beliefs. This was pure evil. The women’s vulnerability made them do evil which created Macbeth's downfall (Stuva, missjenn, & priyaansh, …show more content…

“Perhaps no figure in myth or legend has been so despised and feared as the witch.” (Ancient Mysteries Witches, 1996, 4:15-4:18) Witches are feared mainly because they were seen as wicked and people who did the devils work. They do terrible things to other people. In Macbeth the witches are known to represent the hidden evil in Macbeth himself. (Mabillard, 2000) They are the factor that pushes Macbeth to do all the terrible things that he did like kill King Duncan and Macduff's family. This causes him to fear the witches, just like people feared witches during the time that Macbeth was written. (Novelguide, n.d.) “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough. (Shakespeare & Lott, 1965, Act IV Scene I) Since this is a confirmation of what Macbeth's subconscious had feared, he is even more afraid of the future. He now know that he needs to be worried because all of the other prophecies that witches shared became true. This makes Macbeth afraid to hear anymore of the witches prophecies because they might be bad. Macbeth's fear is similar to those of actual people during the time that Macbeth was written. People still thought that they had been responsible for the plague (Masters, 2008). So they feared that they would cause another disease like that, which would kill millions (Cdc.gov, 2015). It was their subconscious that thought that the witches would repeat

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