Do the Witches, in Fact Have Any Power in the Play ‘Macbeth’ ...

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Do the Witches, in Fact Have Any Power in the Play ‘Macbeth’ Throughout?

By | June 2013
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The forces of evil are always ready to ensnare man, but they have their limitations. They do not, indeed cannot, force man into evil; they can merely tempt man to choose to follow evil ways. Experiencing temptation is not sinful, but deliberately choosing to give in to temptation is an evil. [“Have I not reason, beldams as you are,

Saucy and over-bold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death?”] (HECATE SCENE, Act 3, SCENE 5)

Macbeth deliberately chooses-not once but several times in the play-the evil path. In the portrayal of Macbeth we witness the destructive power of evil in the inner life of a man. It is not a simple, smooth downward progress; but involves turmoil and conflict between conscience and other desires, between good and evil impulses that work within man. At every stage of Macbeth’s degeneration we witness the choice being made deliberately; at the same time there is a sense of inevitability about Macbeth’s choices. The Witches merely prophecy certain things for Macbeth. They do not influence him in any concert manner. It is a fact that his ambition impels him towards “the swelling act of the imperial theme” but his conscience fills him with horror at the idea that has come to him about how to gain the throne. The deterioration of Macbeth’s character illustrates the theme of conscience and its decline. From a brave soldier and noble person, Macbeth reaches a state when he is a soulless man, a beast chained to a stake and finally slaughtered like a beast. A fever in his blood keeps him away from conscience and urges him on to ceaseless action and to desperation. Love of power and the will to live are so powerful in him that he goes to the extent of challenging Fate... TheWitches’predictions and their partial fulfillment at once engross him in the thought of kingship. His ambition makes him unscrupulous and the thought of murdering Duncan occurs instantly in his...

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