The Influence of the witches and Lady Macbeth on Macbeth

The combination of the influence of the witches and the influence of Lady Macbeth on Macbeth are what precipitate the tragedy. The witches’ initial prophecies, where they address Macbeth with titles he doesn’t have, influence Macbeth. The apparitions in the play also have an influence on Macbeth because of their ambiguous allure. When Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth’s masculinity she influences him to kill Duncan. Even though Macbeth has doubts, Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill Duncan by calming his fears. Lady Macbeth wants to see her husband succeed and become king; she will stop at nothing to make that possible. The witches’ and Lady Macbeth manipulate and evoke Macbeth to act the way he does in the play because he is susceptible to their influence.
The witches’ deceptive predictions give Macbeth and Lady Macbeth a false sense of what is possible. The witches do not only deceive Macbeth but their predictions tempt him to commit the murder of Duncan. “From the moment that their eyes first met with Macbeth’s, he is spell-bound. That meeting sways his destiny” (Lambs 184). The Weird Sisters are the ones who give Macbeth the impulse to commit the treasonous act. “They are the supernatural beings who encourage Macbeth in his evil inclinations” (Boyce 715). The witches gave their first prophecies to Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 3. They greet Macbeth, knowing who he is before he can introduce himself. The first witch greets him with, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis”(I, iii, 49). This is the title that he already has, and the only shock in that statement is that the witch knew who he was without introduction. The second witch then says to Macbeth, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor” (I, iii, 50). This is an immediate puzzle to Macbeth because he thinks that the “Thane of Cawdor lives a prosperous gentleman” (I, iii, 72). A few lines later, when Macbeth is actually given the title, he replies “why do you dress me in borrowed robes?” (I, iii, 108). The witches seem to have a clairvoyant sense: that they are aware of whatever is happening to people around them. They knew that Macbeth would gain the title of the Thane of Cawdor when they were never at the battlefield themselves. Also, the fact that Macbeth almost immediately receives the title of Cawdor makes him have confidence in the other predictions of the witches. Then the third witch says to Macbeth, “All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (I, iii, 51). The Witches’ attempts at misinformation succeed not only because they are favorably interpret Macbeth’s future, but also because their revelations came true almost immediately. “Macbeth surely means that knowledge of the witches exceeds what can be known by ordinary humans, for they have a privileged perception of the future, which the later do not” (Ghose 236).
Many people in Macbeth’s time religiously believed in superstitions. “By virtue of their spiritual substance they are acquainted with the causes of things, and, thought the application of wisdom gained by long experience, are able to prognosticate the future events in relation to Macbeth” (Curry 240). Macbeth’s problem is that he is views the predictions literally. Macbeth is only willing to hear what he wants to of the witches predictions, and he believes in the witches because their prophecies are so alluring.
The witches influence Macbeth to want to kill Duncan. They are what Snider calls “instruments of destiny, [who] give Macbeth his impulse” (213) because they give Macbeth the initial temptation to advance his position in life. It wasn’t even Macbeth’s idea, “but the witches’ that he should have the throne. They said it first” (McCarthy 281). If it weren’t for the witches Macbeth would have been fine with his title, the Thane of Glamis. “But the crown was not Macbeth’s pursuit through life: he had never thought of it till it was suggested to him by the witches; he receives their promise, and the subsequent earnest of the truth of it, with calmness” (Whateley 178). In fact the original inclination for Macbeth to be king came from the three witches. They were the first to implant the thought into his head. “Macbeth is deeply