To What Extent Are the Witches Responsible for Macbeth's Actions

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During the many events that occur in the play ‘Macbeth’ people come to ask questions about whether the main character Macbeth’s actions were in any way influenced by a supernatural force. This force would have been implied by the three witches who appear throughout the book and maybe the scenes in which Hecate, leader of the witches, appears. An example of one of these ‘events’ was when Macbeth was spurred on to kill Duncan by seeing the image of a floating dagger. This could have been due to his own psychological issues meaning that he was simply hallucinating under the circumstances, or that the witches sent that image to persuade Macbeth into doing what they wanted. They would have wanted the King dead because then the link between God and his subjects would have been severed and without the natural order they would be free to wreak chaos on the earth. The witches could also be considered as servants to Satan, and as long there would be chaos then there would be more people willing to commit evil and therefore more souls for the devil. Twice in the play we have seen the appearance of Hecate, leader of the witches, who always seemed to be casting or chanting strange spells. However, the parts in which Hecate appears were allegedly not written by Shakespeare, but in fact Thomas Middleton. Many say that these parts were written to entertain the likes of James I, who was obsessed with witchcraft and supernatural happenings and had wrote a book about the matter even though in those times witches were seen as ugly objects of horror.

The first scene of the play introduces the three witches as they were waiting on the edge of the battlefield. One of the witches says a very significant line that plays a meaning throughout the play “fair is foul and foul is fair.” The scene in which Macbeth visits the witches is a great example of how the witches can influence Macbeth’s actions. They give him three predictions, one of which is already true. This convinces Macbeth...
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