The Witches Role in Macbeth





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 Glamis and King. These prophesies introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness.
Macbeth will eventually follow through on killing king Duncan, a destruction of the natural
order; 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 wonder 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 as in the end it was he who made the final decisions.
Banquo says in line 24, "The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us with
honest trifles, to betray \'s / In deepest consequence." He thinks and says bad things of the
witches. He calls them instruments of darkness and the devil. He might believe that these
prophecies will only bring harm even before anything begins to happen. So Macbeth is
warned by his best friend before he makes any decisions that the witches are evil, and what
they suggest is evil.
The witches could foretell the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth,
because they had told Macbeth that he would be King he became impatient and tried to hurry
it as quickly as he could. 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 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. It
seems that she can convince him to do anything as long as she pushes the right buttons in. (I,
VII, 39) She says “ Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou art in
desire?”
On the other hand, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, there is a reversal of
natural order, and Macbeth becomes the dominating partner again. Lady Macbeth becomes
subservient. She becomes pathetic and only a shadow of her former self. Ambition plays a
large role in this tragedy. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have "vaulting ambition" that
drives them. Lady Macbeth’s ambition drives her to manipulate Macbeth into committing
regicide. Macbeth’s fierce ambition is present before the witches\' prophesies. He would never
have thought seriously about killing Duncan without the witches. Yet the combination of both
his ambitious nature and the initial prophesies leads him to kill the king. It is Lady Macbeth
who states "Thou wouldst be great/ Art not without ambition." Macbeth states that it is "his
besetting sin: I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition."
Macbeth’s continued ambition is present in his wanting to have a succession of kings after
him. Macbeth’s ambition is deep within him and because of this, both the witches and Lady
Macbeth are able to sway him to evil. It is this ambition that