The Witches in Macbeth: Corruption and Fate vs. Free will in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

Essay by Orenstein7888High School, 11th grade February 2006

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In "Macbeth", William Shakespeare uses certain characters to foreshadow the play by involving supernatural spirits. For example, witches and their prophecies bring the subject of free will vs. fate into the play and also the rising anger and blood. Supernatural spirits become involved because of the effects they have on the characters; Shakespeare uses each character to manipulate their conscience and to show the breakdown of the human spirit when suppressed with guilt. Further influencing more deaths is the power of guilt and corruption that plagues both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, witches symbolize characters' imaginary tools to represent the power of corruption, and the inner demonic conscience of man.

In "Macbeth", the characters struggle with the prophecies and free will vs. fate. Shakespeare makes the true nature of these prophecies unknown to the reader and allows the reader to interpret their own truth of mythical thought.

These prophecies are indeed foretelling of the fate of each person. At the final battle seen, Macbeth allows himself to believe that he is unstoppable and tries to prove the prophecy wrong by fighting for his life against Macduff. It is impossible for Macbeth to win, but he accepts death. Critics agree with the argument that, "The witches are not, it is true, divine Eumenides, and are not intended to be: they are ignoble and vulgar instruments of hell" (Schlegel 183). Shakespeare uses the witches as tools to corrupt his characters as well as demonstrating to the crowd how evil man truly is. The Witches are allowed to manipulate each character into succeeding in their ultimate dream of evil and guilt. Ribern also describes his attitude towards the image of the witches being evil by explaining, "All that we need to know about the witches is that they are...