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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For centuries , witches have been stoned to death and burned alive simply for being able to create magic . The notion of witches have been a taboo subject that most people would try to avoid but William Shakespeare did not make their reputation any better by depicting them as malicious and demonic in his famous play ‘ Macbeth’ which a lot of people tried making movies of . Despite bearing some similarities between the three videos in which the witches were in , the differences are profound . To start with , there are quite some similarities between the witches in the three movies . In George Wright’s , Rupert Goold’s , and Kurzel’s movies , all of the witches seemed to say the same lines , despite them being from different timelines .
On the other hand, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth with King James I in mind, and he wrote a book on wizardry. Many of the ideas that the king expressed to the public were included in Macbeth, such as predicting the future. Apart from that, witches were always seen as female, and not as male. Therefore, two embodiments of evil in the play are the Witches and Lady Macbeth (both mentioned above). They play a large part in the downfall of Macbeth as they put the initial idea of becoming king into Macbeth´s head by “predicting” it.
The wicked sisters are easily to be identified as witches and their true nature is revealed. Those that deal with witchcraft have given up their claim to either masculinity or femininity. True witches use the duel gender roles to take the fertility of their victims, but only to those who fall for the tricks. True evil is shown in the play Macbeth and Shakespeare wanted the people, especially King James, to understand and recognize an actual witch in hopes of stopping the brutal murders of guiltless
Lady Macbeth herself mimics the way they speak, “Which shall to all our nights and days to come, Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom”, thus makes the readers associate her with these supernatural entities and therefore giving her a monstrous aura. Or, another explanation would be that this is a sign that the witches have possessed her or using her to act as puppeteers within the Macbeth’s lives; making her, once again a victim of the
During Shakespeare’s time period, women were mostly considered babymakers and housekeepers. Women were thought to be ignorant and were only around to look pretty. Lady Macbeth, however, reversed these stereotypes becoming a strong and key character in Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is a very interestingly dynamic character who ruthlessly becomes queen of Scotland though her ambition and manipulation.
During the play, the witches are commonly referred to as the “weird sister” by the majority of the characters. The witches represent unconscious temptations to evil. The witches cause a lot of mischief and it all stems from their powers, which is the result of their understanding of others weaknesses. Throughout the play, they play MacBeth like professional puppeteers.
Basically, witches were shown as evil creatures, but in many cases, this became not always shown true. Witches existed since B.C. times and became discriminated by everyone continuing on because they got blamed as dangerous Satan worshipers. Their practice of witchery in the 15th century contained awful things which included devil worship, baby eating, destruction of crops, and even murder (Cheung 539). “The early modern period (1400-1700) became a popular time of where the most witches existed. About 70,000 to 100,000 souls killed for doing work for the devil” (Bio Staff).
Shakespeare accomplishes this by drawing on the actual the fears and superstitions of his 17th century audience and in particular King James in regards to his fear of witches. In the character of Macbeth, Shakespeare paints a picture of a man who, by believing so firmly in the words of the witches and by allowing his mind to be corrupted by their speech, becomes torn apart by irrational fears and superstition. Shakespeare makes the
When first introduced to Macbeth, the witches give off an unearthly aura and are portrayed as such. Banquo describes the witches as “[…] That look not like the inhabitants ó the earth […] Upon her skinny lips lips: you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so” (1.3.40 – 49). This immediately sets a dark and ominous tone before the witches reveal the prophecy which sets the play in motion: “All hail, Macbeth!
Firstly, the three Witches bring to life his deep ambitions in his heart which caused him trouble but nothing. Secondly, their foretelling is the reason of Macbeth’s death because they told him that nobody could harm him. Thirdly, sisters convinced him to be happy someday if he maintains his kingship, which is too far away from the reality. The Three Sisters contribute enormously to Macbeth’s collapse. Witches are very dangerous if you believe them, as Thomas Szasz says that “In the past, men created witches: now they create mental
On the battle battlefield is where the witches are first made known of. The setting where the witches are introduced is described as a mysterious and perplexing as the witches are meeting "in thunder, lightning, or in rain" which are all used to describe malicious and destructive tendencies. Witches are traditionally associated with an idea of villainous and wickedness with the coinciding setting the idea is presented that the witches are associated identified with evil. The witches are also noted to have ties with the major protagonist of the drama, Macbeth. This is dramatic irony as the witches who are associated with evil or making connections with an advocate of good, Macbeth, who was thought to be a loyal soldier of Duncan.
This aspect of Macbeth as a work of cultural 'ordering ' could, of course, only make claims to 'truth ' within a cosmology, which accommodated witchcraft beliefs. The Bible largely defined that cosmology. There are, indeed, interesting parallels between Macbeth and the story of Saul and the Witch of Endor in the Book of Samuel (I Samuel XXVIII), a text which was dealt with by nearly every Renaissance treatise on witchcraft. Jane Jack has explored this parallel in ["Macbeth, King James and the Bible," ELH, 22 (1955)] where she writes: Like Saul, Macbeth hears from the witches the confirmation of what he most fears. The crisis of the story is the victory of the witches: the resolution of the story is the judgement passed on Macbeth at the end—the same judgement that is passed on Saul: 'So Saul dyed for his transgression, that he committed against the word of the