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Essay The Role of Witches in Macbeth

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The Role of Witches in Macbeth

In ‘Macbeth’ the witches have to be portrayed as evil and fearsome for
the play to make sense. This is difficult for a modern director to
achieve as out culture and beliefs are extremely different from those
at the time at which Macbeth was written.

The intended effect of the witches is to scare the audience into
believing them. To strengthen this belief one witch in the play says:

‘Though has bark cannot be lost,

Yet it shall be tempest-toss’d.’

In Shakespeare time people were very conscious about the practice of
witchcraft. People believed that witches could manipulate the
weather, curse people and control what other people did. Anyone who
was suspected of witchcraft was tortured. When the witches came on
stage during this play the audience would have been genuinely afraid
for Macbeth. In modern society people would be generally amused by
the proposition that witches existed and could tell the future. This
is because we have based our society on factual findings. We find it
hard to believe that there are such paranormal things that we cannot
explain.

A modern audience would laugh at the witches on stage and wouldn’t be
afraid at all. As well as the change in culture there has been a
change in attitudes toward things we cannot explain or do not
understand. We are a lot more tolerant and willing to let people live
how they wish without discriminating against them or torturing them.
In Shakespearean times people were less tolerant and were against
anything that they didn’t understand or things that they thought were
wrong. This creates problems for a modern director on how to ...


... middle of paper ...


...aring and disappearing quickly from the set. I
would do this by not putting in a ghost at all but to have Macbeth
look at an empty stool the whole time. This would create tension for
the audience as they cannot see what it is Macbeth can see and they
would have to use their own imagination. I think that putting in a
ghost would make the scene more comical and less believable. The
apparitions that visit Macbeth are another difficulty that a director
would encounter. The way that it has been directed in the past is
that puppets have been used to be the apparitions. Using people for
this part of the play it would make it less believable. In my opinion
the only way to make the play believable to a modern audience is to
create an air of mystery to and minimise the amount of times that the
audience see the supernatural.


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