The Supernatural “Weird sisters” in the Play “Macbeth”
The play “Macbeth” came into existence during the early 1600 with William Shakespeare as the author. He intended to entertain King James 1, who had much interest in witchcraft and demonology.It is important to note that this play premiered at a time when the whole of England had much of speculation concerning witches and demons. The play kicked off in the setting of a supernatural scene. In their meeting, the three witches offer clues of their identity, which includes what they can control. Utterances such as “we three meet again in thunder, lighting or in rain?….When the battle’s lost and won….That will be ere the set of sun….There to meet with Macbeth” set the tonality and atmosphere of the play. As it turns out, the play depicts evil and horror in the same manner as the first scene.
This paper therefore seeks to explain the role of the weird sisters in building the play. This will include examining the influence they had on the mood and atmosphere of the play. In addition, it will involve examining the influence they had on the characters insofar as their course of action is concerned after the encounter. This essay further intends to explain the role played by these creatures in the play in determining the moral of the story.
Role of the Witches in the Play
The witches in this play bear a decisive function in the play. This is because they set the theme and gave meaning to this play right from the beginning. Their first statements set the stage for the actions of all the characters in the play. This is because the witches play a prophetic role by foretelling the futures of Macbeth and Banquo. The words of the witches give everyone in the play reason to think of their next action. The most influenced people in the play include Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth.
After the conversation with the witches, Macbeth and Banquo had a small but deep chat concerning the foresight that the witches gave. In the first instances, Macbeth seemed to doubt their word. However, his stand seemed to be lost when Ross came in with the very words of the witches. King Duncan had instructed him to bring good tidings to Macbeth. In a replication of what the sisters said, he became Thane of Cawdor. In the following conversation, Macbeth is almost convinced that even though witches are not to be trusted this particular one was bound to be true. The reason is because, in the series of prophesies given, the first one had just become true.
The words of the weird sisters definitely bring confusion and division among the main characters in the play. Macbeth can find description to be in a confused state. In his statement, he said “Cannot be ill, cannot be good” which means that he did not know whether to believe the witches. As a way of expressing his doubt, he said, “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs?” however, part of him finds reason to believe as he suggested, “If ill, why hath it given me earnest of success, commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor.”
In his world, witches were described as more than traitors, the vilest of beings whose words could not be trusted. The confusing part is, the first in the line of prophesies they gave had just happened. Moreover, in comparison to Banquo, the predictions were in his favor thereby making it hard for him to dismiss them as empty claims.In the long run; he got convinced by Lady Macbeth who managed to manipulate him by scorning his manhood. As fate would have it, King Duncan was on his way to their home for a visit. To her, that was an open opportunity to advance her thoughts and make her husband king, as foretold by the witches.
The witches further played a critical role in setting the mood of the play. In the first scene, the setting reveals a location so weird. When Macbeth and Banquo show up, they give prophesies which carry both good and bad tidings. For instance, if Macbeth would truly become king, then his descendants would not have the chance of ascending to the throne. This was because Banquo had received the promise of having that privilege. The big question is, was it possible for him to change these predictions and retain the throne through generations? This informed his next course of action, hatching out a plan to murder Banquo and Fleance in cold blood. This would prove his only way of retaining the throne for his generation.
He unfortunately did not succeed in wiping out the bloodline of Banquo since Fleance managed to escape. In addition, under the influence of his wife, Lady Macbeth, they hatch out another plan to murder the king and inherit he throne, just as the prophecy of the weird sisters stated. Soon killing people in order to keep his secret and remain in power preoccupied Macbeth. Therefore, the play acquired a somber mood throughout, with much of murder and bloodshed in the mouths of the characters.
The witches had an upper hand in determining the theme of the play. It is important to note that this play premiered at a time when the whole of England had much of speculation concerning witches and demons. In addition, the author had intended to thrill the king Edward who had much interest in demonology. Therefore, this play intended to bring out the message that everyone who obeyed the words of witches had a doomed future. The witches preset the doom of Macbeth, who as the play progressed seemed to rely on their prophesies to determine his next course of action. Lady Macbeth seemingly inspired by every word of the witches hatches out a grand plan that eventually brings them down.
The final scene of the play, featuring a battle between Macbeth, his troops and the troops led by Malcolm and Banquo finds strength in the second meeting between Macbeth and the witches. Tired and weary of the turn of events, was out to seek answers. The witches, once again gave him hope, hope that in the end turned out to be false. This is because the prediction of the masters of the witches, which sounded to make him invincible, was in reality a prelude to his demise. In his perspective, for example, everyone was born of a woman. He even announced that he no longer had fear for Macduff since he thought himself indispensible
Macduff on the other hand announced on the battlefield that he was not born of a woman but was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.” His description of birth is similar to that of modern day caesarian section. This therefore means that the prediction was in a way a trap for Macbeth, one that would lead him to the very person that was supposed to take him out of his throne. This is in tandem with the intent of the play that was bent on depicting the witches as vile creatures, representing the dark world, not deserving any communion with man.
The Supernatural and theMoral of the Story
The critical role played by these creatures in the play further contributes in determining the moral of the story. The author had specifically placed the creatures as the main influence of the play to relate them with the outcome. This way, it would prove possible and easy to determine or weigh the morality of their indulgence. In addition, it helps determine the intent of the author as far as his view of the supernatural (witches in this case) was concerned. It is further important to understand that this play also reveals the overall view and perception of the people at that time. The popularity of the play at that time only indicated their approval of the issues addressed in the play.
It is apparent that the author intended to depict the supernatural creatures as vile and of evil intent. Therefore, indulgence with them would only result in the destruction of the individual. The dark forces in the supernatural had the ability to manipulate the individual to think of abominable actions such as murder. This finds roots in the general belief of the people at that time. They held that the supernatural, often in reference to witches, had sold their souls to the devil. They therefore had the ability to kill their neighbors for selfish reasons.
The author clearly brought out the weird sisters as creatures whose utterances had duality of meaning. In as much as they carried good tidings for Macbeth, they also had evil intentions concerning him and the whole of Scotland. In fact, according to the play, each prophecy issued by the creatures turns out different from the normal interpretation. It therefore gives the individual false hope. The play in its finality bears the message that men must not interact with the supernatural.
The presence of the supernatural in the play therefore has a critical function in building the moral of the story. This is because they significantly influence the characters into their course of action. Consequently, the actions and consequences of the characters help in determining the moral authority of the supernatural. As it turns out in this play, the supernatural prove the wrong party to turn to for moral advice. Therefore, the moral of the story finds inclination against indulgence with the supernatural. This is because the words of the creatures had duality of meaning, according to the turn of events in the play. This means that their word could not be trusted. Prophesies that seemed impossible to happen such as the moving of the forest found fulfillment in a rather casual way. This included the depiction of Macduff as the only person capable of killing Macbeth. In reality, as much as his birth was through C-section, he still had a woman as his carrier at birth.