Macbeth: The Weird Sisters
In Elizabethan times, witches were a natural part of life. Macbeth
witnessed this, as seen in the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. The evil
forces that the weird sisters, who were witches, possessed, put Macbeth’s mind
in another direction. This direction was the beginning of his moral downfall
and the destruction of his destiny. The weird sisters warned Macbeth of this in
the three apparitions but he continued living his life without realizing that
they were speaking of him.
Without the weird sisters, Macbeth would have lived a very different
life. It is unknown whether it would have been better or worse. The weird
sisters affected Macbeth in the worst way. They tempted him by addressing him
as Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and future king, without ordering him to do
anything to obtain these positions.
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter.
(Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 48-50) With this
information Macbeth was provided with incentive to kill Duncan the King of
Scotland. He was tempted into believing that if the King was murdered, he was
to become what the witches predicted. While the witches never said this,
Macbeth assumed that that was what they meant and the subsequent murder of
Duncan was carried out by Macbeth himself, but, he also ordered special
murderers to kill Banquo, Lady Macduff and her children. The murder and
bloodshed had absolutely nothing to do with the witches. Macbeth acted totally
out of his own will and beliefs.
Although Macbeth murdered Duncan, it was not planned and thought out.
When Macbeth heard the prediction given to him by the three witches, he wrote a
letter to his wife (Lady Macbeth). On reading this letter, Lady Macbeth
believed that if Macbeth murdered Duncan he would take his place at the Throne.
Lady Macbeth did not know that Duncan thought of her husband as a hero and
really wanted him to be Thane of Cawdor, as the original traitor would be killed.
When Macbeth returned home, Lady Macbeth told him that he must kill Duncan and
persuaded him by calling him a coward.
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
and live a coward in thine own esteem.
(Act 1, Scene 7, Lines 42-43)
Macbeth gave in to his wife and killed Duncan, only because he was a very proud
man and had too much pride. Eventually Lady Macbeth’s conscience took over her
and she committed suicide.
The witches ruined Macbeth’s life with the temptation that led him to
become a murderer. Knowing that they ruined his life they then wanted to ruin
his death. They told him their three prophecies. The apparitions predicted the
death of Macbeth, but he was too blind to realize. They told him about an armed
head, which said to beware of Macduff. They also said “a bloody child,” which
meant no man born of a woman could harm him. The third apparition told him
there would be a child crowned with a tree in his hand. This meant that Macbeth
would live until great Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane Hill.
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
(Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 71-72)
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!…
(Act 4, Scene 1, Line 77)
Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
(Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 79-81)
Be lion-mettl’d, proud, and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until
Great Birnam Wood to Dunsinane Hill
Shall come against him.
(Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 90-94)
With the apparitions telling him this, it showed everybody, besides Macbeth,
that his destiny had been destroyed by one temptation, given to him by the
witches, and that his life was over.
The weird sisters’ evil forces and power affected Macbeth’s moral
downfall by giving him reason to kill, which eventually killed him. The sisters
knew about the three apparitions, and that they were about Macbeth. Also that
Macduff was not born of a woman. Macbeth’s destiny was observed early in the
play, but only to the audience, when the apparitions told him of their
prophecies. By the time Macbeth realized what was happening, it was too late
and he was beheaded.