witches in Macbeth

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  • Witches
    • Context
      • In the Jacobean era, it was common to believe in witchcraft - represent a dark force that have the capacity to influence men's decisions
        • Outward representation of Macbeth's outward evil + poison his mind with prophesies but never directly
    • Ambiguous
      • "The weird sisters" - "This supernatural soliciting / cannot be ill, cannot be good."
    • Passive role in Duncan's murder
      • They make prophecies but never explain how they'll happen - they take advantage of Macbeth's weakness - his "vaulting ambition" and use it to control his actions
      • Self-fulfilling prophecy - witches predict Macbeth will become King, which acts as the driving force for killing Duncan
      • Hecate uses apparitions to punish Macbeth - they trick him. by making predictions that give him a false sense of security, which indirectly lead to his death
        • "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"


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