Macbeth - the Role of the Three Witches

In: English and Literature

Submitted By KatalinBelauste
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The witches in Macbeth reveal human weakness, heighten the tension, and foreshadow things to come, but they do not control Macbeth or anyone else in the play. The only power they have is their ability to reinforce an idea and to cause temptation that was already in his head. Hectate suggests that they do not have the power to make him do the evil and mischief that they desire him to do, nor do they need that power. Macbeth is fully capable of doing all the mischief and evil on his own without the witches. The witches control Macbeth by physical and/or emotional force. Fear and threats, rewards and praise work to control others.

These ideas work to different degrees on different people. So much of what is called control depends on the person that is being controlled. For example, Macbeth was easy to control because he thought that the witches had foretold the future but in reality, they brought an idea to the attention of Macbeth. The promise of a throne may send some people to their knees while others will take to their heels. When the witches hold out their promises to Macbeth the only reason they can manipulate him is because they have a knowledge of his ambition and his need for power. In the end this was all they needed to know and to be sure of. They may try to manipulate, but they do not need to control. The character flaws that Macbeth has, will be enough to fill their needs. It is interesting to note that the witches do not ask for anything in return for their prophecies.

Macbeth does not have to promise his soul in exchange for any information. His soul was already in trouble before he met the witches. He had already thought about being king and Lady Macbeth reinforced his thoughts and actually acted to make them happen. It was Macbeth’s choice.

At the start of the book, Macbeth and Banquo are returning from the battlefield when they meet the…...

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