Custom «Macbeth’s Beliefs in Witchcraft» Essay Paper Sample

Macbeth’s Beliefs in Witchcraft

The topic is about witches in Europe in the seventeenth century. During the time of Shakespeare witches were considered as evil, and a lot of women suspected to be associated with witchcraft or practicing it were burnt. In the storyline, it’s seen that witches were so powerful that they controlled a character called Macbeth to act strangely. The thesis statement: The strength of the catastrophe is reliant on whether the witches are apparently able to control Macbeth who was innocent or he is completely accountable for his own downfall.

As quoted from the play, even though not a "secret, black, and midnight hag" (Shakespeare 48), as a wicked female, Lady Macbeth can still be considered a witch during the time of Shakespeare. Lady Macbeth undermines the order of the family, and tries to overcome her husband (Cotton 320). She wants to be the head of the family. She is greedy, and ensures that she gets what she desires most. Nothing stands in her way; she is ready to do anything to satisfy herself. Therefore, she puts pressure on her husband. This can be compared to the way witches undermine the order of religion and society.

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It is believed that witches have the power to make men impotent. Most of Lady Macbeth’s actions are like those of a witch. She does not physically make her husband impotent, but challenges him by being more aggressive than he is. She tells him "When you durst do it, then you were a man"(Shakespeare 55).Lady Macbeth calls upon spirits of the mind to help her plot to conquer her husband's unwillingness, and to compel him to slay Duncan (Cooper 360). She rejects her role as a wife, and agrees to be changed into a tool of death. She works with sisters who are weird to influence Macbeth, and this implies that at least she is associated with them

Some Shakespeare’s writings do not coincide with the burning of witches. All witches who were burnt were innocent, and that they were suffering from a certain ailment. The audience’s belief that witches had either power over Macbeth or not influences their view on Macbeth. It is not understood by the audience whether he made a personal choice or was influenced by an external force. Macbeth remains a hero either when able to resist the power of witches and use his free will and personal choice, or if he is believed to be powerless against the evil powers of witches and his wife.

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Macbeth should be able to resist the temptations of the witches. He is initially unable to do so, he listens to them (Shakespeare 142).Although he listens to them, he is able to act as a morally upright person, and controls his ambition. The questions to ask is does he maintain his uprightness in the whole play? Macbeth undergoes a lot of tests. He is promised prosperity by the witches and his wife. He sees himself as the king and all the beautiful things kings are given. This promotes his greed, and ends up being a betrayer of his soul.

When Macbeth realizes that he has to commit murder in order to reach what the witches propose, he rethinks and says “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me/ without my stir" (Shakespeare 114).In the second act, Macbeth succumbs to his wife’s pressure. He says "I go, and it is done: the bell invites me" (Shakespeare70).Macbeth succumbs to his pride. This shows that Macbeth has not been bewitched, but follows what his wife pressures him to do.

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Macbeth tries to put the blame away from him; his wife Lady Macbeth retains her corporeal form and sequential powers. She has touched the greed and selfishness in Macbeth (Truax 370).The fact that he is not accountable for his actions, the blame still remains on him, and he must pay for what he did. Through Lady Macbeth, the author tries to show the hidden behavior of Macbeth. He pretends to be a respectful person, but he suffers from greed. He wants to be king, and the only way to attain such a position is by killing Duncan.

The topic affects the play in two different ways. In today’s society most audiences will view Macbeth not being on the wrong, because he is at the mercy of the witches. This is because the witches are seen to control him. It is therefore easy to forgive a person who is not responsible for his or her actions. In another perspective in the seventeenth century audience; if the mentality of the seventeenth century is adopted the witches and Lady Macbeth will be accountable for the down fall of Macbeth.

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The times of Shakespeare were during the pre-scientific era of history. Science was trying to make some discoveries about superstition, and the scientific causes of happenings were not put into focus. Results that were Psychosomatic were proven to be a curse and it was considered as a power of witchcraft. The teaching of the church about the powers of evils contributed to the strong belief of witchcraft. Lack of education caused superstition to develop in individuals. People developed a strong believe that an evil person could call the devil, and ask him to do their evil deeds.

The point laid on the table is that whether witch craft really exists or it is just people’s perception. The strength of the catastrophe is reliant on whether the witches are apparently able to control Macbeth who was innocent or he is completely accountable for his own downfall. It is seen that the witches are to blame if the seventeenth century perception is taken into consideration. The witches and the wife of Macbeth will be held liable, and burnt for their actions. In a society where witch craft does not exist, Macbeth will be blamed for his actions despite being influenced by his wife and the sister witches. The fact is that Macbeth let his greed and selfishness out rule him, and he ends up shifting blame to other people.

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