Shakespeare delves straight into the theme of murder and the study of the criminal mind. The trio of witches subtly expose themselves to be concocting a devious plan in the first scene itself.
“When the hurly-burly’s done. When the battle’s lost and won. That will be ere the set of sun. Where the place? Upon the heath. There to meet with Macbeth”. (I.i.3-7)
As the play progresses, Shakespeare reveals the underlying causes for the murders but stalls the unsettling outcomes, the effect of being a criminal.
Each of the main characters in ‘Macbeth’ contribution to the central theme grows throughout the play. The Three Witches and Lady Macbeth’s manipulation of Macbeth and the growing insanity of the couple is an example of such cause and effect and can be related to real life.
The Three Witches or the ‘weird sisters’, skulk like sinister thoughts and unconscious temptations to evil. Their cunning stems from their paranormal powers however, their true ability lies in exploiting the weaknesses of their interlocutors.
Despite their absurdity through comical yet malevolent rhyme, are clearly the most dangerous characters in the play, being powerful and wicked. However, the audience is left to question the witches’ allegiance. They could be autonomous, toying with the human emotions, or agents of destiny who prophesize the inevitable.
The Weird Sisters seem to have an intentional resemblance to characters in Greek mythology known as the Fates. They too were three sisters who controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from life to death. The Weird Sisters control the thread of life of all the major characters in the play, and it is in their power to do what they want to them.
The prophecies foretold by the witches are seemingly self-fulfilling. Macbeth may not have murdered King Duncan if he was not pushed to do so by the witches, the night he and Banquo met the witches on the moor and had their futures