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Macbeth Questions

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    How does Shakespeare present the witches to us? They are presented as inhumane, of another species. “Imperfect speakers” suggests that because they talk in riddles they are casting spells upon the audience throughout Macbeth. Within Act 1 Scene 3 when Macbeth first encounters the witches he says “speak, if you can: what are you? ” This line shows Macbeths confusion as he is unsure about the witch’s presence. How are Macbeth and Banquo presented comparatively? Banquo and Macbeth are positioned parallel with one another at the start of the play as they are both worthy thanes and great warriors as well as being loyal to the King at the start.

    As well as this they both encounter the witches but Macbeth is immediately tempted by the witch’s ways but Banquo manages to resist temptation to do evil. What is different about the rhythm of the speech of the witches? The witches speak in rhyming couples as if they are casting a spell. As well as this they take it in turn to speak and have an order of who shall speak next. After Macbeth has met the witches he himself starts to speak using rhyming couplets such as “Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day”.

    This suggests Macbeth is being transformed by the witches and becoming more evil as time goes on. What images does Shakespeare create through language? Shakespeare uses language to emphasize the actions of the character at the time and also to impact the actions upon the audience. Within A1 S7 Lady Macbeth says “I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out”. This is a very visual sentence as the harsh feelings are portrayed from the character of Lady Macbeth to the audience.

    Shakespeare used this language to add impact and make the sentence stand out. It’s very cruel what she states which draws in emotional attachment to the audience. Is Macbeth’s route inevitable from the first time he meets the witches? He seems determined throughout the play to become more powerful, but doesn’t want to be overcome with evil. “Shut the door, not bear the knife myself” is an extract from Macbeths speech in Act 1 Scene 7. This shows that Macbeth wants the power and glory but doesn’t want to be the one to carry the blame.

    His first encounter with the witches gives him an insight into the success his plan could bring him but from then on he still feels unsure whether to carry through with It or not so it isn’t decided the first time they meet. What is the cultural context of Shakespeare’s use of the supernatural? Back in the time that Macbeth was created there was a strong belief in the supernatural and witches were believed to be evil species associated with bad happenings so as the audience watched Macbeth which is heavily based around the witches then there would have been a lot of fear.

    Shakespeare decided to have the witches speaking in rhyming couplets as this gave the affect that spells were being cast upon the audience members which added tension and terror. Also the audience would have been heavily based around following the teachings of the Bible but were viewing a play based upon the beliefs of the supernatural which is so strongly set against their normal religious beliefs and views.

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