Discuss the role of the witches in the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare.

Essay by MathildeJunior High, 9th gradeA+, March 2004

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Discuss the role of the witches in the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare has included the witches in the play for several reasons. First, these supernatural beings have an important part in the storyline of the play; without them the play would not be as exciting. Then, they are there to thrill and entertain the audience. Furthermore, Shakespeare included them to please King James. The witches also play a significant part in the moral of the play: witches are not to be trusted. Finally, Modern audiences still find the witches thrilling although many people no longer believe in witchcraft.

The witches have an important role in the storyline or plot of the play. They affect Macbeth's state of mind and encourage him, ultimately, to do actions he would have dubitably done on his own. During their first encounter with Macbeth, the witches told him he would be king,

'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, that shalt be king hereafter.'

This prediction encouraged the idea of killing King Duncan in Macbeth's mind. Then the witches tell Macbeth that Banquo's sons will be kings, 'Thou shalt get kings, thought thou be none.'

This does not please Macbeth; he will be King but not his sons. Therefore Macbeth orders Banquo and his son, Fleance, to be killed to ensure that his sons will be kings. If the witches had not told Macbeth these foresights, then he would not have killed King Duncan and Banquo.

During the second meeting with Macbeth, the witches again make predictions which lead to other evil acts. Their predictions make him violent, fearless. The prophecies are comforting to Macbeth but they trick him into doing cruel acts. In act four, scene one, he was told to, 'Beware Macduff ' by the first apparition. The second apparition told him...