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Macbeth’s Witches

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The witches play a major role in Macbeth. They can vanish and predict. They are like apparitions. We are shown the witches powers at the beginning of the play where firstly the atmosphere is described as dangerous through the weather, so already we are told that something bad is about to happen, “Thunder and lightning, Enter three witches”. That was just the beginning sentence to the play which must have had the audiences curious. We are shown that they can predict,

“Where the place

Upon the heath

There to meet Macbeth”.

Now we know that Macbeth is damned from the start. The witches then begin to chant in confusing and vague language and Macbeth is mentioned again and the audiences anticipation grows stronger and they get introduced to Macbeth through the line, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen” Act 1 scene 3. This repetition of the witch’s last words by Macbeth shows us that he is already, though he is not aware of it, connected with the witches,

“Fair is foul and foul is fair

Hover through the fog and filthy air”.

At the start of scene three again there is thunder which shows us that the witches are evil, dramatic and dangerous like the thunder. To the witches all good is disgusting and all evil is attractive, storm and foul weather make the most complimentary setting for their work. The witches wickedness is all apparent through the activities they get up to in their spare time by collecting momentums and getting rid of the believers (in god) relatives,

“Here I have a pilots thumb”, and

“He shall live a man forbid” and “killing swine”.

As well as passing their time with getting up to evil and appalling things, we are also told of the witches appearances by Banquo who is a close friend of Macbeths. The Weird Sisters are described as not even looking like women at all in his description. They are so skinny and unfeminine that on seeing them Banquo says,

“So withered and so wild in their attire

That look not like th’inhabitants o’th’earth

Choppy finger lying

Upon her skinny lips. You should be women

And yet your beards forbid me to interpret”.

The witches were instructed and many controlled by familiars or imps who took the form of animals, mainly of cats, some dogs, toads or ravens. The familiars helped the witches to see in to the future. Familiars had weird names like Newes, Ilemauzar, Pyewackett and many more. In Act four, scene 1, the witches enter the stage when there is thunder. They start chanting in rhymes whilst circling a cauldron

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