The Witches Influence on Macbeth

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The Witches Influence on Macbeth
Allison Schweinert
Malling Hour 2

Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare’s witches, or the “three weird sisters” (1.3.32) serve several purposes. With their persuasive techniques and ability to either see or influence the future, their most important role seems to be their power to influence decision-making and cause the initial deterioration of Macbeth. By providing five prophecies, the witches “provide Macbeth’s ‘call to action’ and drive his thirst for power”, (Jamieson). However, by not telling Macbeth the full truth, they give him false hope, and expectations that ultimately lead to his demise. The witches influence him so greatly, that without their presence, it is possible that Macbeth would never have even committed the murder of King Duncan. The three weird sisters make their first appearance in Act 1 Scene 1. In Act 1 Scene 3, the witches make their first predictions. The first is that Macbeth will be King of Cawdor and Thane of Glamis. The second is that Banquo’s sons will also be kings. Macbeth’s is forced to question the prophecies and says to the witches, “By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman, and to be king, stands not within the prospect of belief,” (1.3.71-74). Due to his inevitable inheritance of the title Thane of Glamis, Macbeth is convinced that the witches are, in fact, of a supernatural nature. Despite his lingering doubts, these predictions were enough to convince Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to pursue their ambitions and kill Duncan. This shows the witches first influence in that, even though Macbeth questions their credibility, he allows them to have substantial control in his future.

Secondly, it is thought by many, that to know what fate may have in store for them, and to have knowledge of the future is wrong. It seems this is true, because after Macbeth demands the witches second appearance, he is told to...
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