Role Of Witches In Macbeth Essay
The witches’ beards, bizarre potions, and rhymed speech make them seem slightly ridiculous, like caricatures of the supernatural.Shakespeare has them speak in rhyming couplets throughout (their most famous line is probably “Double, double, toil and trouble, / Fire burn and cauldron bubble” in 4.1.10–11), which separates them from the other characters, who mostly speak in blank verse.‘ Although the witches cannot directly bring about death, they can have a hand in the elements that cause it.The witches can only create the climate for evil, as man alone causes chaos by destroying order, as is proved further on in the play when, through the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth kills many of those around him.They are the root of disorder and are the trigger factor for the chaos that unfolds throughout the play.Shakespeare considered their role very carefully and included them for important reasons.
The witches bear a striking and obviously intentional resemblance to the Fates, female characters in both Norse and Greek mythology who weave the fabric of human lives and then cut the threads to end them. For example, it is doubtful that Macbeth would have murdered his king without the push given by the witches’ predictions.
The witches’ capabilities are shown in Act 1 Scene 3, when the ‘weird sisters’ are discussing the punishment inflicted on the husband of a ‘rump-fed ronyon’ who refused to give one of the witches some chestnuts.
The first witch has cursed the boat on which the husband is sailing so ‘it shall be tempest-tost.
This represents the way in which all order in his life continues to deteriorate after he has heard the witches’ prophecies, and how all that seems close and certain, such as King Duncan and Banquo, will be destroyed and become nothing.
Macbeth is close to Banquo at this point and is loyal to his king, as he has just fought for him.