Witches are known to be extremely blood thirsty. When I say that they are blood thirsty, they are not necessarily thirsty for animals, like I lion would be, but they thirst for men! The very first scene in the play of Macbeth starts with the witches. These witches are very evil and creepy. They have evil chants and curses that they continually use on people. These witches, also known as “The Fates” (Wood 26), enjoy predicting people’s futures, such as Macbeth’s. If the witches had not predicted the future of Macbeth, the story itself would not be known as a tragedy. The witches, in the story of Macbeth, are the ones that continually drive the plot.
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Throughout the years there have been several stories and facts about the witches in Macbeth. The witches, also called “The Weird Sisters”, are like dark thoughts and even little temptations that seem to appear in the life of Macbeth. These three witches turn out to be the most dangerous and outrageous characters in the entire story (Wood 27). The fates, prophecies of the future, seem to be what ignites Macbeth’s ambitions, which, in turn, causes him to change his life completely. The fates start out with little praises or bribes, such as, ” All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis; All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor; and All hail Macbeth! That shalt be king here after” (Shakespeare 305). Macbeth’s greatest desire in
life is basically to become king, and he would do anything to make his desires come true. However, he does not have anything keeping that from happening. At least not until the weird sister’s prophecies of Banquo, Macbeth’s very close friends during the war, become considerably alarming to Macbeth. In the middle of one of the acts, Macbeth meets with the weird sisters again, and demands that the witches tell him the future. During the scene Macbeth is visited by three Ghosts. The first Ghost says, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me enough”, the second ghost says, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Be bloody and bold and resolute. Laugh to scorn, that no one women born shall harm Macbeth”, and the third says, “Be lion – mettled, proud, and take care who chafes, who frets, or where conspires are: Macbeth shall never vanquish be until Great Birnam Wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (Shakespeare 359).
There is still one major question that needs to be answered. Who is Macbeth and what is his character like? Macbeth used to be your typical, average warrior. He had a simple, uncomplicated life and a nice wife, known as Lady Macbeth that he lived with in a very eloquent home. He is praised by everyone that sees him, even the three fates. Macbeth was not just a warrior, but a conqueror too. Sometimes there are certain problems that come with being a person like that. Problems such as pride and selfish ambitions are typical characteristics of a warrior. So, although Macbeth was said to be a well liked and a pretty decent guy, he still had his issues. Since the witches already had a hunger and a thirst for Macbeth, they saw Macbeth’s problems as the perfect opportunity to cause him to change, and to make things go
their way in the near future. One may say that if Macbeth was really a man, he should have stood up to the witches, and that he should have had the strength to say no, because he was a warrior. That is a very good point, but what really is not being noticed is the fact that Macbeth just came home from a long, hard war. He is beyond tired and extremely stressed. His thoughts are no longer clear and he is not only physically weak, but he, is also mentally and emotionally drained. The weird sisters are very similar to a hungry lion looking for something to attack. Macbeth is the prey and the witches are the hungry lions. The Fates almost seem to be playing with Macbeth’s mind and desires. The witches find the weaklings, just like that lion would. The supernatural powers of the witches, the predators, persuade Macbeth several times over.
Macbeth is the type who can be easily persuaded and is not all that strong when it comes to not falling into temptations. This is exactly why the witches find him to be the perfect prey. Lions tend to go after the weakest, because they are the easiest prey to catch. Macbeth is the weakest, when it comes to his selfish ambitions. The witches are not only using their words to persuade Macbeth, but they, are also using the demonic supernatural powers to cast spells and predict the future. By using these things against Macbeth, such as his thirst to become king and his lack of strength to say no to persuasive people, will obviously cause him to do anything to get what he desires.
Witchcraft, by definition, is black magic, the evil use of supernatural powers, which is calling on the powers of the devil (James 1). When it comes to the history of witches, in general, there are several interesting facts. For instance most witches tend to be women, but there has
been on some occasions, where men have been witches. One can become a witch or simply start practicing witchcraft way before the age of ten. The act of practicing witchcraft is the witch’s way of showing respect or commitment to Satan (Exposing Satanism.org 1). By worshipping Satan the witches end up receiving supernatural powers (Exposing Satanism.org 1). These supernatural powers cause these witches to be very persuasive and are able to cast spells, by saying a specific chant. The witches in Macbeth use several of those spells. Here are just a few: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair hover through the fog and filthy air” (Shakespeare 301), “Double trouble, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble”. The last well know chant is, “The weird sisters hand in hand, posters of the sea and land, thus to thine, and thrice to mine, and thrice again, to make up nine” (Shakespeare 355). The witches not only use chants to cause things to happen, but they also use supernatural powers. In one particular scene their powers were used to encourage Macbeth to follow through in another murder. In act two, scene 1, lines 44 – 45 it says, ” Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?” The witches actually use their supernatural powers to provide Macbeth with an imaginary dagger, simply to encourage him to follow through in a murder (Mowat and Werstine 221). Once someone becomes involved in witchcraft or satanic worship, it is extremely hard to stop. It almost turns into an obsession or addiction, just like drugs are to a drug addict. This is exactly what happened to the fates. They started playing with Macbeth’s emotions and eventually became so addicted that they could not stop. The witches definitely lack a little thing called self – control. In the beginning, Macbeth was said to have an extreme desire for the throne. Well, the fates have a desire to control not only Macbeth but everything. By definition witchcraft is
not a religion; it is actually just the practice of worshipping the devil. Some have said that the witches have contact with the dark underworld, which is very possible, because only the devil himself could think of so many evil things (Wood 27). The weird sisters are not necessarily driving the plot, but their prophecies and desires definitely are.
As one can clearly see that the witches definitely set the play’s tragic motion. Their prophecies corrupt Macbeth to the fullest extent. All the witches really do is complicate everything. They say and act like they can predict the future when in reality all they really do is make up stuff to upset Macbeth. The fates are full of lies and deception. One can completely relate this play to high school. In high school, people have tons of peer pressure and unfaithful people surrounding them. Just when you think that someone is there to help you, they turn around and stab you in the back. They end up being some of the most unfaithful people in your life. Well, one might be thinking how come Macbeth was not more aware of what was going on, and more wise about the entire situation? Personally, I have been easily deceived. Yes, one can take precautions, but sometimes bad things, such as, being deceived can happen. All their prophecies are really warnings to Macbeth. If, the fates actually meant well, they would have shown him the complete future, like him dying in the end. In some cases, Macbeth could have made his own decisions, but in this case, there was too much deception and Macbeth obviously could not have seen this coming. This just goes to show that the witches and their prophecies definitely drive the plot of Macbeth.