Macbeth - Witches Essay

This essay has a total of 914 words and 5 pages.

Macbeth - Witches


To what extent are the witches in the tragedy Macbeth responsible for Macbeth's actions?

The Three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are introduced right at the beginning of the
play. They recount to Macbeth three prophesies. That Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor,
Thane of Glams and King. These prophesies introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness. Macbeth
will eventually follow through on killing king Duncan. It was sometimes thought that the
witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things.


This brings into the play idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play. One can
ponder if Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches.


It is however, more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for his own actions
throughout the play and in the end it was he who made the final decisions.


The witches could foretell the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth, but
they can not control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by his
own sense of guilt. This causes him to become insecure as to the reasons for his actions
which in turn causes him to commit more murders. The witches offer great enticement, but
it is in the end, each individuals decision to fall for the temptation, or to be strong
enough to resist their captivation. The three Witches are only responsible for the
introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideas


in Macbeth head, but they are not responsible for his actions throughout the play. Lady
Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can
manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine
ear". (I,V, 26)


She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. Before the speech that Lady
Macbeth gives in act one scene five, Macbeth is resolved not to go through with the
killing of the king. However, Lady Macbeth manipulates at Macbeth's self-esteem by playing
on his manliness and his bravery. This then convinces Macbeth to commit regicide. It is
like a child who is easily guided. Lady Macbeth knows this and acts on it accordingly.


Although Macbeth has the final say in whether or not to go through with the initial
killing, he loves Lady Macbeth and wants to make her happy. Lady Macbeth is the dominating
individual in the relationship which is shown in her soliloquy in Act 1 Scene
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