"To what extent are the witches and Lady Macbeth responsible for Macbeth's actions?"

Essay by 3x3cuTi0n3rHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2005

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 32 times

Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a play that portrays Macbeth, who is an ambitious character, being manipulated and motivated by female powers. Macbeth is initially depicted as a brave and capable warrior but his physical courage is joined by a consuming ambition- to become King of Scotland. It was his encounter with the witches, or otherwise referred to as the "weird sisters", that motivated and inspired Macbeth to murder Duncan and therefore become the King of Scotland. However, it was mainly Lady Macbeth's persuasion that had influenced Macbeth to perform his actions which had lead onto other regretful actions including the murder of Banquo and MacDuff's family. It was the witches who were accountable for Macbeth's tragic downfall as their apparitions did not only confuse Macbeth but had caused him to misinterpret his future as predicted by the witches. Lady Macbeth and the witches were responsible, to a great extent, for Macbeth's actions.

During the first Act of the play, Macbeth and Banquo, who were returning victorious from battle, encounter three witches who greeted Macbeth as the "Thane of Glamis", "Thane of Cawdor" and "Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter" (Act I Scene III line 49). It is evident that Macbeth had thought of becoming King prior to meeting the witches, but it was their greetings that had reinforced his thoughts and ambition. Banquo was quick to reassure Macbeth that "The instruments of Darkness tell us truths; win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequence" but Macbeth was able to learn some truth from the prophecies as he was later greeted by Ross and Angus claiming that he had become the Thane of Cawdor- just like the witches had prophesised. It was at this point where Macbeth felt excited and the truthful prophecies had...