The Use Of Teh Witches In “Macbeth” Essay, Research Paper
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The Use of the Witches in ?Macbeth?
One of Shakespeare?s most famous plays, ?Macbeth?, includes examples of several literary techniques. Two techniques he uses are foreshadowing and bringing supernatural elements into a story. Like many writers, Shakespeare uses characters to foreshadow. The witches in ?Macbeth? bring out the elements of foreshadowing and the supernatural. Throughout the play readers can find the witches and their effects upon the story and the other characters.
When ?Macbeth? begins, the first characters on stage are the witches. They immediately are used to set the tone of the play. They speak of ?hurlyburly? or turmoil and Macbeth, which foreshadow the evil that is soon to follow. When Macbeth meets these witches by accident, he is hailed as the ?Thane of Glamis,? which he is, but then they continue. ?All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!? and further, ?All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!? This immediately foreshadows the path Macbeth will venture onto shortly. The witches also proceed to tell Banquo he will not be king, but his descendents will be. By the next scene Macbeth is Thane of Cawdor. Already this truth frightens Macbeth. It also encourages him to pursue his dream of power and plot to kill King Duncan.
Macbeth, with the help of his wife, murders the King and takes the throne. The witch?s prediction has come true. Macbeth grows uneasy and becomes threatened by the last part of the witch?s predictions. He sends murderers to hunt down Banquo and his son. He succeeds in killing Banquo, but is haunted by his ghost. He fails to kill Banquo?s son. So, seeking guidance, he returns to the witches who again advise him. This time, they have a new plan.
The witches have been consulted by their leader, who scolded them for their actions with Macbeth. She advises the witches to make Macbeth overconfident so he may be defeated.
Macbeth finds the three witches in a cave. When he arrives the witches show him three apparitions. The first to rise from the cauldron is an armed head, which warns Macbeth of Macduff, the Thane of Fife. So Macbeth decides to murder Macduff, which he believes to be an easy task. The second apparition, a bloody child, assures Macbeth he cannot be killed by anyone born of a woman. ?The pow?r of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.? The third spirit, a crowned child holding a tree, leaves him bursting with confidence. The child grasping the tree tells him he cannot be defeated until Birnam Wood travels the twelve miles to his castle on Dunsinane Hill.
Next the witches show him something frightening. A procession of eight kings, all looking just like Banquo. This last image presented by the witches confirms Macbeth?s defeat.
Macbeth seeks the murder of Macduff, but hesitates too much. Macduff escapes the country leaving his wife and child to surrender to the wrath of the power-hungry Macbeth. Macduff leads an army to attack upon Macbeth who has still not lost confidence. But Macduff?s army camouflages themselves in trees, looking like the woods, and move in upon Dunsinane. When a messenger looks upon the scene, it appears as if the woods are moving toward Macbeth?s castle. He informs Macbeth but Macbeth still believes he cannot be killed because the witches told him no one born of a woman could kill him. After Macbeth’s army surrenders and turns on him, he is left to fight Macduff alone. During the duel Macbeth finds out his doom when Macduff tells him, ?Macduff was from his mother?s womb untimely ripped.? Knowing his defeat, Macbeth refuses to surrender and dies like a man. Macduff chops off his head and places it on a pole, an armed head, much like Macbeths? first apparition.
Shakespeare?s use of foreshadowing through the witches proves very successful. They immediately tell the reader of Macbeth?s success and impending tragedy. After seeing only his success, Macbeth again seeks the witch?s guidance. This time he is doomed. Their supernatural powers show images which give him confidence, only to trick him in the end. The witches then foreshadow the death of Macbeth when Banquo?s descendents are kings.
“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare
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