Role Of Witches In Macbeth Essay

Role Of Witches In Macbeth Essay-22
However, the witches can bring about death as, if the man is unable to dock his boat, he will starve at sea or his boat will be swept onto rocks.This is proved as, at the end of the witches’ conversation, the first witch produces ‘a pilot’s thumb’, which is that of the sailor, whose boat was ‘wreck’d as homeward he did come.This represents the way in which all order in his life continues to deteriorate after he has heard the witches’ prophecies, and how all that seems close and certain, such as King Duncan and Banquo, will be destroyed and become nothing.

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They are the root of disorder and are the trigger factor for the chaos that unfolds throughout the play.

Shakespeare considered their role very carefully and included them for important reasons.

It is known that Macbeth was performed for James I and is assumed that the plot of the effect of witchcraft on the monarchy was devised to please the King, with James being said to have claimed to be a descendent of Banquo.

Shakespeare would have been paid a large amount of money to have his play performed for King James, so it was in his interest to include a subject that the King was passionate about.

By the ‘bark’, she is referring to the boat, showing that there is a limit to the evil they can perform, as they are unable to destroy the man’s boat or life, but are simply able to interfere with the elements.

This shows that there is a limit to the damage and chaos they can cause and that there is a hope that good will prevail, as the witches are unable to destroy things.

For an audience living in the17th century, witchcraft and the forces of evil were very real, a part of their everyday lives, something that they had to come to terms with, making the play instantly popular and successful.

Shakespeare uses the witches to instantly create an atmosphere of terror and evil, setting the theme of the play, which is the struggle between good and evil.

‘ The witches create storms, with each of the other witches saying ‘I’ll give thee a wind’, thereby making the water extremely choppy so the husband is unable to dock his boat.

However, the first witch states that ‘his bark cannot be lost’.


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