How Does Shakespeare Use the Witches in Macbeth to Create Mood and Effect on an Audience?

Topics: Macbeth, Three Witches, The Birnam Wood Pages: 2 (837 words) Published: March 26, 2012
How does Shakespeare use the witches to create mood and effect on an audience?

Macbeth was set around 1040s, during this era, Elizabethan and Jacobean times, the traditional theory of witches was widely accepted; and anyone who questioned it was believed to be a witch themselves; if there was suspicion of a person being a witch, prosecution was most likely made.  The play “Macbeth” is a tragedy, because of Macbeth; the hero aspect in the play is brought to ruin. Although he is not an idealistic hero, he’s the main character and suffers great loss, even death; the witches had caused him to bring it upon himself, by misleading his blind ambition. Throughout the 1040s, people were led to believe, because of religion and traditional that Kings were chosen by God. If someone committed treachery, it was considered an act against God; a sin. This is why the audience were so shocked by Macbeth even just contemplating killing the King. In modern society, the equivalent of something so wrong would be like a mother murdering her child. Shakespeare uses the theme of witches in the play introduction to create an eerie, dramatic atmosphere. His stage directions are for an isolate place; deserted with thunder and lightning. Shakespeare conveys a dark, superstitious environment with the introduction. The witches open the first scene; “When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?” Not only is that mysterious, all three weather conditions are grim and depressing. This makes the set a very dramatic statement, distinctly creepy and unearthly. The witches predict that Macbeth will be King and Thane of Cawdor, this was taken lightly until Macbeth was given title of Thane of Cawdor, much to his disbelief; “All Hail Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!” Directly after this scene, the unlikely odds of it becoming true happens, this foreshadows early on that the witch’s other predictions will come true. Macbeth was reconsidering the idea of killing the King to...
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