Macbeth, by william shakespeare, in this essay i discuss the role of the witches and the supernatural in the play

Essay by ephy2002 January 2003

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The title of the drama I am going to discuss is "The Tragedy of Macbeth" written by William Shakespeare. In this essay I am going to discuss the crucial importance of the role of the witches and the supernatural in the play.

Three witches appearing on the road, confront battle weary Macbeth, Thane of Glames, a noble warrior on his way home. They prophesise that he will become king and then leave as unexpectedly as they appeared. A few days later, consumed by the concept of being king, Macbeth murders King Duncan. The malicious and diabolical prophecies of the witches eventually lead Macbeth to his untimely death.

In present day, the idea of witchcraft and the supernatural is often confined to fiction and the fantastical. However in Macbeth's time these ideas were more acceptable and the existence of witches was more commonly acknowledged.

The opening scene of the play is particularly significant as it establishes the atmosphere in which the main action will take place.

The weather is appalling suggesting an unusual darkness and unhealthiness. The witches speak in a tongue not associated with ordinary men. Their use of rhyme is aligned to them throughout the play. In Act 1, Scene 1 they say 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'. It is unusual as they are saying good is evil, and evil is good. How can that be so? It encourages the audience to see confusion and disorder. The witches are the first we hear mentioning Macbeth's name, this also arouses confusion and questioning as why would Macbeth have anything to do with these foul creatures? The witches seem to know the outcome of the battle before it is even over.

In Act 1, Scene 3, the first line is Macbeth saying 'so foul and...