Last Updated 23 Mar 2020

The Purposes of the Three Witches in Macbeth

Category Macbeth
Essay type Research
Words 730 (2 pages)
Views 365

The Purposes of the Three Witches in Macbeth Macbeth is a symbolic story of how people can be easily influenced. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth meets the three witches and hears about his prophecy from them which he will become the next King of Scotland. These witches are important characters to develop the story. Every time when Macbeth needed them, he received prophecies from them. These prophecies affect Macbeth and reveal his evil personality. As revealed in the play, the purposes of the three witches in the play are to foreshadow, advance the plot, and show the human weakness.

One of the purposes of the witches in the play is to set allusions. In the beginning of act one scene one, the three witches plan? to meet at the open field to see Macbeth after the battle is over. As they promised, they wait for Macbeth and Banquo to return from the battlefield. When they faced each other, the third witch said, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter”(Macbeth 1. 3. 51) to Macbeth. Then the first witch tells Banquo that, “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none/ So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! ”(Macbeth 1. 3. 8-69), which she meant that Banquo will become the father of the kings. Later in the story, Macbeth seeks for the three witches to hear more about his future. They told him that “Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn/ The power of man, for none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth. ”(Macbeth 4. 1 81-83). These prophecies eventually become true. There are no doubts that the tree witches allure the story by telling the futures. The weird witches not only foreshadow but also advance the story. The story mainly develops by the prophecies.

After Macbeth hears about his future from the witches, he writes a letter to Lady Macbeth, his wife, about the prophecy. Since Lady Macbeth had no doubt about this prophecy of Macbeth becoming the king, she plans to assassinate the King Duncan to fulfill the prophecy. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth put their plan into action. Successfully, Macbeth killed the king and put false charge on Malcolm and Donalbain for assassinating the king to become sovereign. As a result, Macbeth took the next throne of the Scotland.

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While he rules Scotland with insanity, Malcolm seeks for revenge and makes an army to fight against Macbeth. With a growing fear in Macbeth’s heart, he goes to find the three witches again to receive another prophecy. He gets told that no men who came through a woman’s womb could harm him. He scoffs and eases his fear of death. However towards the end of the play, he faces death by Macduff, who was delivered by cesarean section. By giving prophecies, the witches indirectly affect the play to create tensions.

The play of Macbeth clearly showed the human weakness. The witches did not force Macbeth to kill the king or to commit any crimes. Macbeth was a loyal general of King Duncan along with Banquo. However, after he hears the words from the three weird sisters, he had a conversation with Banquo about what they heard and he says, “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,/ Shakes so my single state of man/ That function is smothered in surmise,/ And nothing is but what is not” (Macbeth 1. . 142- 145). From this conversation, his personality was revealed which he is a man who would not kill the king to attain his ambition. However, Macbeth eventually gets affected by the prophecy that he shows his ambitions toward the kingship and his evil personality. His influenced aspect is clearly shown when the second witch notes, that “By the pricking of my thumbs,/ something wicked this way comes” (Macbeth 4. 1. 44-45). From this quote, it shows that Macbeth’s personality became evil.

The purposes of the witches are not only to develop the story but also to show that people are easily influenced. The weird sisters, the three witches, in the play do not advent often but have essential roles. They give prophecy to Macbeth which creates ambition in his heart. They are the main element that creates the consequences in the play. Their role in the story gave Macbeth a thought that they know he would expand on and reveal his human weakness. Work Cited Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Signet Classic, 1987. Print

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