Three Witches | Revolvy
Three witches meet Macbeth and Banquo on the heath (marshes) as the men return from battle. They predict that Macbeth will be named Thane of Cawdor and . Why did Shakespeare portray Banquo as one of Macbeth's innocent victims? .. When Macbeth meets with the witches again—this time in a cavern—they conjure .. Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches' Hammer, , by Heinrick Kramer and. Second Witch, All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! Third Witch, All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter! BANQUO, Good sir, why do you start; .
Antagonist An antagonist is a person, a force, an emotion, an idea, or another thing that acts in opposition to the protagonist. Sometimes a play has several antagonists. Macduff is the obvious antagonist in Macbeth.
He eventually catches on to Macbeth's treachery and vows revenge against him. Other antagonists include psychological and supernatural forces—including Macbeth's conscience and the three witches. Plot Summary In a desert place during a thunderstorm, three witches conclude a meeting.
They decide to convene next on a heath to confront the great Scottish general Macbeth on his return from a war between Scotland and Norway. As they depart, they recite a paradox that foreshadows events in the play: In other words, what is perceived as good is actually bad; what is perceived as bad is good.
While camped near his castle at Forres in the Moray province of northeastern Scotland, the Scottish king, Duncan, receives news of the fighting from a wounded sergeant: When the Norwegians launched a new assault, the sergeant says, Macbeth and another general, Banquo, set upon their foes like lions upon hares. Cawdor is a village in the Highlands of Scotland, near Inverness.
The Scots extracted a tribute of ten thousand dollars from the Norwegian king, Sweno, who was begging terms of peace.
Macbeth Study Guide
Glamis is a village in the Tayside region of Scotland. He has not yet received news that the king has bestowed on him the title of the traitorous Cawdor. The Third Witch then predicts that Macbeth will one day become king and that Banquo will beget a line of kings, although he himself will not ascend the throne. Macbeth commands the witches to explain their prophecies, but they vanish. Shortly thereafter, other Scottish soldiers—Ross and Angus—catch up with Macbeth and Banquo to deliver a message from the king: After Macbeth presents himself before Duncan, the king heaps praises on the general for his battlefield prowess and announces that he will visit Macbeth at his castle at Inverness.
In a whisper, he says to himself: The Prince of Cumberland! Stars hide your fires, Let not light see my black and deep desires. But she fears he lacks what it takes to do the deed. A messenger arrives to tell Lady Macbeth that King Duncan will visit her and Macbeth that very night. The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements.
Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry 'Hold, hold! He is having second thoughts about the murder plot.
After the feast begins, Macbeth enters the dining hall, still ruminating about his sinister plans. To kill a king is a terrible thing. His wife, who has been looking for him, follows not far behind him. Macbeth speaks his mind to her: We will proceed no further in this business He [Duncan] hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss Not cast aside so soon.
She then lays out the plan.
After midnight, while King Duncan sleeps, Lady Macbeth gives the guards a nightcap of milk and ale called a posset spiked with a drug. She then rings a bell signaling Macbeth that all is ready. But Macbeth, guilt-stricken, cannot bring himself to return to the room. Lady Macbeth, still bold with resolve, scolds him, then plants the daggers herself, smearing blood on the guards. Early in the morning, two noblemen, Macduff and Lennox, call at the castle to visit Duncan.
Macbeth and Lennox, standing outside, ask what the matter is. Macduff says, Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak. See, and then speak yourselves. Looking upon it turned the viewer to stone. However, fearing for their own lives, they flee Scotland—Malcolm for England and Donalbain for Ireland.
Because their hasty departure makes them appear guilty—Macduff speculates that they may have bribed the guards to kill Duncan—the crown passes to the nearest eligible kin, Macbeth. But now that he is king, Macbeth cannot rest easy.
He remembers too well the prophecy of the witches that Banquo will father a kingly line. Just as the dinner begins, one of the assassins reports the news to Macbeth. When Macbeth sits down to eat, the bloodied ghost of Banquo appears to him, but to no one else. Macbeth begins to act and speak strangely.
The ghost then reappears and Macbeth shouts, Avaunt! Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; Thou hast no speculation in those eyes Which thou dost glare with! Go away; get out of here. Later, preoccupied with the fear of being discovered, Macbeth begins to suspect that Macduff, who refused to attend the feast, is onto him.
When Macbeth meets with the witches again—this time in a cavern—they conjure an apparition of an armed head that tells him he has good reason to fear Macduff. But they also ease his fears when they conjure a second apparition, that of a bloody child, which tells him that no one born of woman can harm him. A third apparition, that of a crowned child holding a tree, tells him that no one can conquer him until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. After the meeting, Macbeth learns that Macduff is urging Duncan's son, Malcolm, to reclaim the throne.
In revenge, Macbeth has Macduff's wife and son murdered. When Macduff hears the terrible news, he organizes an army to bring down Macbeth. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth's conscience—long absent earlier—now begins to torture her. She talks to herself and hallucinates, imagining that her hands are covered with blood. As they advance, the invaders cut branches of trees to hold in front of them as camouflage.
Birnam Wood is coming to Dunsinane—a hill near the castle—just as the witches predicted. Finally, Macbeth meets Macduff in hand-to-hand combat, bragging that he will win the day because according to the apparition of the bloody child no man born of a woman can harm him.
Macduff then kills and beheads Macbeth, and Malcolm becomes king. This action sets in motion the events that drive the plot and lead to the climax. The exposition in Macbeth centers on events that fire Macbeth with a desire to become king by killing Duncan. Why Do the Witches Target Macbeth? The witches represent fate or destiny. Because they are evil, they hope to ensnare noble and highly respected persons into an evil destiny.
During the war against the Norwegians, Macbeth wins the respect and esteem of King Duncan and other Scotsmen for his heroic battlefield exploits. To the witches, his elevated status makes him a target for their witchery. So they tempt him to do evil by planting the suggestion in his mind that he will one day become king. Men like Macbeth are ambitious and impatient; they would rather make something happen than wait for it to happen.
Consequently, Macbeth begins entertaining thoughts of murdering Duncan. Because Lady Macbeth is also ambitious and impatient, she encourages her husband to go through with the murder. Climax and Denouement The climax of a play or another literary work, such as a short story or a novel, can be defined as 1 the turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse, or as 2 the final and most exciting event in a series of events.
The climax of Macbeth occurs, according to the first definition, when Macbeth murders Duncan and becomes king. According to the second definition, the climax occurs in the final act when Macduff corners and kills Macbeth.
The denouement is the conclusion of a play. In Macbeth, the denouement is in the seventh scene of the final act. Ross, Malcolm, Old Siward, lords, and soldiers are discussing the outcome of the clash between the forces of Macbeth and Macduff when Macduff enters holding the head of Macbeth as certain proof that the tyrant is dead.
Macduff hails Malcolm as the new king of Scotland; the others do the same. Malcolm then names the lords as earls, asks all to welcome home those who were exiled by Macbeth, and invites everyone to his coronation at Scone. Themes A theme is the main idea—or one of the main ideas—that an author is conveying in a literary work. Stinginess is a theme in Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The inhumanity of slavery is a theme in Alcott's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
The beauty of young love is a theme in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Following are important themes in Macbeth. Ambition Overweening ambition, or inordinate lust for power, ultimately brings ruin. For ignoring this ancient rule of living, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth pay with their lives.
Plotting against a king was a topic much on the minds of Englishmen when Shakespeare was working on Macbeth. The reason was an uprising against King James I in His opponents conspired to kill the king, the queen, their oldest son, and members of Parliament by exploding barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords and the adjacent royal palace.
However, before the conspirators could execute their plan—scheduled for Nov. They tortured him until he disclosed the details of the conspiracy, which became known in English history as the Gunpowder Plot. He went to the gallows in January After his death, his body was carved into pieces and displayed in public as a warning of what happens to anyone who tries to overthrow the king.
Deceit In Macbeth, evil frequently wears a pretty cloak. But the Macbeths soon discover that only bad has come of their deed, and their very lives—and immortal souls—are in jeopardy. Other quotations that buttress this theme are the following: False face must hide what the false heart doth know. On the battlefield, Macbeth is a lion and a leader of men. But when the witches tempt him by prophesying that he will become king of Scotland, the lure of power is too strong for him to resist and he decides to commit the most heinous of sins: Later, however, his conscience gnaws at him and his resolve weakens.
Lady Macbeth then steps in and, like a demon from hell, fortifies his resolve with strong words. Together, they make plans for the murder. Guilt Guilt haunts the evildoer. When they hear knocking moments later at the castle door, it is the sound of their guilt as much as the sound of the knocker, Macduff. Presence of Mysterious Forces Mysterious, seemingly preternatural forces are at work throughout the play.
The presence of the otherworldly begins when the witches confront Macbeth and Banquo with prophecies. A short while later, Macbeth hallucinates: Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? His wife explains to the guests that her husband is unwell. When Macbeth meets with the witches again, they conjure apparitions of an armed head, a bloody child, and a crowned child, each of which make predictions about events to come.
English essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt said the following about the influence of fate and the supernatural in Macbeth: The overwhelming pressure of preternatural agency urges on the tide of human passion with redoubled force. He is not equal to the struggle with fate and conscience. He now "bends up each corporal instrument to the terrible feat;" at other times his heart misgives him, and he is cowed and abashed by his success.
In thought he is absent and perplexed, sudden and desperate in act, from a distrust of his own resolution. His energy springs from the anxiety and agitation of his mind. His blindly rushing forward on the objects of his ambition and revenge, or his recoiling from them, equally betrays the harassed state of his feelings. Characters of Shakespeare's Plays.
Macbeth Act 1 Scene 3 | Shakespeare Learning Zone
Reynell, Vengeance After the murder of Duncan, revenge becomes an important theme. Banquo introduces this theme after Macbeth's henchmen strike him down. With his dying words, Banquo tells his son: Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
Later, Macbeth thinks he sees the ghost of Banquo. Worried that the apparition is a harbinger of revenge against him, he tells Lady Macbeth, "It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood" 3. But Macbeth does not wait for revenge to visit him. After learning that Macduff is urging Duncan's son, Malcolm, to take Macbeth's throne, Macbeth has his men murder Duncan's children and wife. Malcolm then tells the grief-stricken Macduff, Be comforted: Revenges burn in them.
Shakespeare was particularly adept at creating vivid imagery. Darkness Shakespeare casts a pall of darkness over the play to call attention to the evil deeds unfolding and the foul atmosphere in which they are taking place. At the very beginning of the play, Shakespeare introduces an image of dark clouds suggested in words spoken by the First Witch: When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark. Their conversation centers on the blackness of the night and on sleep: How goes the night, boy?
The moon is down; I have not heard the clock. And she goes down at twelve. Hold, take my sword. Take thee that too. A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet I would not sleep: It is remarkable that almost all the scenes which at once recur to memory take place either at night or in some dark spot.
The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in night-scenes.
The witches dance in the thick air of a storm, or, 'black and midnight hags' receive Macbeth in a cavern. The blackness of night [makes] the hero a thing of fear, even of horror; and that which he feels becomes the spirit of the play.
From Jonson to Auden. U of Michigan, pages Blood as a Symbol of Evil Shakespeare frequently presents images of blood in Macbeth. Sometimes it is the hot blood of the Macbeths as they plot murder; sometimes it is the spilled, innocent blood of their victims. It is also blood of guilt that does not wash away and the blood of kinship that drives enemies of Macbeth to action. In general, the images of blood—like the images of darkness—bathe the play in a macabre, netherworldly atmosphere.
Here are examples from the play: Come, let me clutch thee. There's no such thing: It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes Macbeth: They are so deeply entrenched in both worlds that it is unclear whether they control fate, or whether they are merely its agents. They defy logic, not being subject to the rules of the real world.
Indeed, the play is filled with situations in which evil is depicted as good, while good is rendered evil. The line "Double, double toil and trouble," often sensationalised to a point that it loses meaningcommunicates the witches' intent clearly: By placing this thought in his mind, they effectively guide him on the path to his own destruction. This follows the pattern of temptation attributed to the Devil in the contemporary imagination: Macbeth indulges the temptation, while Banquo rejects it.
Most of these lines were taken directly from Thomas Middleton 's play The Witch. David Garrick kept these added scenes in his eighteenth-century version. The witches in his play are played by three everyday women who manipulate political events in England through marriage and patronage, and manipulate elections to have Macbeth made Treasurer and Earl of Bath.
The entire play is a commentary on the political corruption and insanity surrounding the period. As with earlier versions, the women are bystanders to the murder of Banquo, as well as Lady Macbeth 's sleepwalking scene. Their role in each of these scenes suggests they were behind Macbeth's fall in a more direct way than Shakespeare's original portrays. The witches encroach further and further into his domain as the play progresses, appearing in the forest in the first scene and in the castle itself by the end.
Directors often have difficulty keeping the witches from being exaggerated and overly-sensational. The production strongly suggests that Lady Macbeth is in league with the witches. One scene shows her leading the three to a firelight incantation.
Once Macbeth is King and they are married, however, she abandons him, revealing that she was not Lady Duncan all along, but a witch. The real Lady Duncan appears and denounces Macbeth as a traitor. After Macbeth's death, the Three Witches reappear in the midst of wind and storm, which they have been associated with throughout the play, to claim his corpse.
They carry it to a ravine and shout, "Macbeth! They are wearing elaborate dresses and hairstyles and appear to be noblewomen as Macbeth and Banquo approach. For example, by the eighteenth century, belief in witches had waned in the United Kingdom.
Such things were thought to be the simple stories of foreigners, farmers, and superstitious Catholics. However art depicting supernatural subjects was very popular. John Runcimanas one of the first artists to use Shakespearean characters in his work, created an ink-on-paper drawing entitled The Three Witches in — In it, three ancient figures are shown in close consultation, their heads together and their bodies unshown.
Runciman's brother created another drawing of the witches called The Witches show Macbeth The Apparitions painted circa —, portraying Macbeth's reaction to the power of the witches' conjured vision. Both brothers' work influenced many later artists by removing the characters from the familiar theatrical setting and placing them in the world of the story.
In it, the witches are lined up and dramatically pointing at something all at once, their faces in profile. Three figures are lined up with their faces in profile in a way similar to Fuseli's painting.
However, the three figures are recognisable as Lord Dundas the home secretary at the timeWilliam Pitt prime ministerand Lord Thurlow Lord Chancellor. The drawing is intended to highlight the insanity of King George and the unusual alliance of the three politicians. The first, entitled Macbeth, Banquo and the Three Witches was a frustration for him. His earlier paintings of Shakespearean scenes had been done on horizontal canvases, giving the viewer a picture of the scene that was similar to what would have been seen on stage.
Woodmason requested vertical paintings, shrinking the space Fuseli had to work with. In this particular painting he uses lightning and other dramatic effects to separated Macbeth and Banquo from the witches more clearly and communicate how unnatural their meeting is. Macbeth and Banquo are both visibly terrified, while the witches are confidently perched atop a mound. Silhouettes of the victorious army of Macbeth can be seen celebrating in the background, but lack of space necessitates the removal of the barren, open landscape seen in Fuseli's earlier paintings for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery of the same scene.
Fuseli evidently intended the two paintings to be juxtaposed.
He said, "when Macbeth meets with the witches on the heath, it is terrible, because he did not expect the supernatural visitation; but when he goes to the cave to ascertain his fate, it is no longer a subject of terror. In the opera, the Three Witches became a chorus of at least eighteen singers, divided into three groups. Each group enters separately at the start of the opera for the scene with Macbeth and Banquo; after the men's departure, they have a chorus of triumph which does not derive from Shakespeare.
They reappear in Act 3, when they conjure up the three apparitions and the procession of kings. When Verdi revised the opera for performance in Paris inhe added a ballet rarely performed nowadays to this scene. In it, Hecate, a non-dancing character, mimes instructions to the witches before a final dance and Macbeth's arrival.
Critics take this as a sign that they control his actions completely throughout the film. Their voices are heard, but their faces are never seen, and they carry forked staves as dark parallels to the Celtic cross.
Welles' voiceover in the prologue calls them "agents of chaos, priests of hell and magic". At the end of the film, when their work with Macbeth is finished, they cut off the head of his voodoo doll. She lives outside "The Castle of the Spider's Web", another reference to Macbeth's entanglement in her trap.
The hag, the spinning wheel, and the piles of bones are direct references to the Noh play Adachigahara also called Kurozukaone of many artistic elements Kurosawa borrowed from Noh theatre for the film. Roman Polanski 's film version of Macbeth contained many parallels to his personal life in its graphic and violent depictions.
His wife Sharon Tate had been murdered two years earlier by Charles Manson and three women. Many critics saw this as a clear parallel to Macbeth's murders at the urging of the Three Witches within the film.
The witches are replaced by three hippies who give Joe McBeth drug-induced suggestions and prophecies throughout the film using a Magic 8-Ball. Mac should kill McDuff's entire family! Maybe a thousand years ago. You can't go around killing everybody. The Three Witches are replaced by two corrupt policemen, who don't just pronounce prophecies but also actively shape events to "balance forces".