Macbeth Witches Essay Topic

The Role of the Witches in Macbeth Essay

996 Words4 Pages

The Role of the Witches in Macbeth In the play, Shakespeare used the witches to represent the supernatural, evil, a destructive force and an inversion of natural order. At the time the play was written, people believed this, and feared witches. People believed that witches had the power to change the weather and other special powers such as predicting the future and the power of flight.

In Act 1 Scene 1 Shakespeare begins the play with the witches discussing when they should next meet.

He does this because he wants the audience to be curious about the witches, and what role they play.

We also see in this scene that the…show more content…

In Act 1 Scene 2 Macbeth fought bravely against the strong force of the Norwegian troops. When Duncan of Macbeth's bravery he confers on him the brave title "Thane of Cawdor" after the previous Thane of Cawdor was recently found a traitor.

Before this news reaches Macbeth, he meets the witches in Act 1 Scene 3.

In this scene, the witches are portrayed as "Instruments of darkness." In weather such as thunder, the witches are plotting to torment a sea captain who's wife insulted them.

Banquo described the witches as unearthly, ugly and wild as they have beards.

The witches make three predictions for Macbeth. They hail him as the Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter.

They also prophecies that Banquo's descendants will be kings but he himself will not.

The witches also make more predictions for banquo such as "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater" and "Not so happy, yet much happier" meaning he will be not so happy because he will have an early death, but he will be happier as he doesnt have to suffer wit the guilt of killing so many people.

When Banquo hears of the prophecies, he thinks that they are ridiclous and he doesn't believe or trust them as they came from witches and may be a trick leading to evil.

Banquo

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Macbeth: Essay Topics

1) The supernatural plays an important role in Macbeth. To what extent does it motivate Macbeth's actions?

2) Discuss King Duncan and examine what contribution he makes to the play.

3) In constructing Macbeth, Shakespeare dramatically altered historical characters to enhance certain themes. Examine Shakespeare's sources and discuss why he made these radical changes.

4) Is Lady Macbeth more responsible than Macbeth for the murder of King Duncan? Is Lady Macbeth a more evil character than her husband and, if so, why?

5) The sleepwalking scene in Act V is one of the most memorable in all of drama. Relate this scene to the overall play and examine what makes Lady Macbeth's revelation so provoking.

6) Choose two of the minor characters in Macbeth and examine how they contribute to the play's action.

7) The witches tell Banquo that he will be the father of future kings. How does Banquo's reaction reveal his true character?

8) Examine Macbeth's mental deterioration throughout the play.

9) Discuss the speech Macbeth gives upon hearing that his wife is dead in Act V, Scene V. How do his words capture one of the major themes in the drama?


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More Resources

 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

Research Your Topic

 Macbeth: The Complete Play with Annotations and Commentary
 The Metre of Macbeth: Blank Verse and Rhymed Lines
 Macbeth Character Introduction
 Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)

 Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
 Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
 Soliloquy Analysis: She should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)

 Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
 The Psychoanalysis of Lady Macbeth (Sleepwalking Scene)
 Lady Macbeth's Suicide
 Is Lady Macbeth's Swoon Real?

 Explanatory Notes for the Witches' Chants (4.1)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)

 A Comparison of Macbeth and Hamlet
 The Effect of Lady Macbeth's Death on Macbeth
 The Curse of Macbeth

 James I and Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Macbeth Q & A
 Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
 What is Tragic Irony?

 Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
 Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
 Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Shakespeare's Workmanship: Crafting a Sympathetic Macbeth
 Temptation, Sin, Retribution: Lecture Notes on Macbeth
 Untie the winds: Exploring the Witches' Control Over Nature in Macbeth

 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama



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