The Role of the Witches in Act 1
The play Macbeth starts with the meeting of the three witches in a "deserted heath". One reason why Shakespeare starts the play in this way is that in his time people believed in the existence of witches and blamed them for all unnatural events that happened. The people believed that witches had contact with the devil and animals, that they could fly on broomsticks, cast spells by chanting and making potions and that they had the ability to fortell the future.
Shakespeare starts the play with the three witches who meet in a deserted place in Scotland on a stormy night. He starts like this because he wants to scare the audience.The whole atmosphere becomes sinister and strange and gives us an…show more content… Banquo questions the witches as to who they are:" What are these creatures so wrinkled and so wildly dressed / by each at once her choppy finger laying upon her skinny lips." Banquo is confused by their appearance because the witches look like women but they have facial hair: "You should be woman and yet your bears forbid me to interpret that you are so."
The witches greet him as "lesser than Macbeth and greater," "not so happy, yet much happier," and a man who "shall get kings, though be none." While Banquo is curious about the witches ' predictions and his own fate, he is not prepared to beg them to tell him more. He does not seem to be frightened of these evil Sisters:" Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear. Your favours nor your hate. "
Macbeth on the other hand seems to be very affected by their predictions When Macbeth begins to question them further; the witches vanish into the air. Almost as soon as they disappear, Ross and Angus appear, bearing the news that the king has granted Macbeth the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo step aside to discuss this news. Banquo is of the opinion that the title of Thane of Cawdor might "enkindle" Macbeth to seek the crown as well. Macbeth questions why good news like this causes his "seated heart knock at ribs / Against the use of nature," and his thoughts turn immediately and with