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The Importance Of Witchcraft In Jackobean Times English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 856 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In this essay I will explain the dramatic importance of the witchcraft in the Jacobean times and the beliefs of James 1st who thought himself to be on the receiving end of witchcraft. In the Jacobean times witchcraft was very common, everyone believed in witches they also believed that the witches can fly, cast spells and cause harm. James 1st before was king in Scotland as James 6th but because his cousin died he was the next heir to the throne. He had divine right and it was part of the natural order. In the play Macbeth was not meant to be king but because of the witches and his devious wife, he does some evil things to become king so the witches are really important because they have a big effect on Macbeth.

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The witches have a big effect upon the audience because at that time people believed in witches they also believed that they can make evil things happen. The witches always met in a bad weather. This is called pathetic fallacy. “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightening or rain?” this suggests that they only meet up on bad weather and this also shows that they are up to something evil. They also show that they are up to something evil. They also meet in wastelands were no human beings go, for example, when one of the witches said “where the place?” the other one said “upon the heath.” The word heath means wastelands where no human beings go, for example, when one of the witches said “where the place?” the other one said “upon the heath”. The word heath means wasteland. The importance of this setting is that it shows that they don’t like being around human beings. They use dramatic irony to show the audience they are aware that the witches intend to meet with Macbeth for some evil purpose. “There to meet with Macbeth”. This suggests that they have planned what they have to do and say to Macbeth when they meet with him.

At the start of the play Macbeth had a really big status everyone loved and praised him, and treated him really good. For example people used words like ‘dearest Macbeth, worthy Macbeth’ this suggests that people really respected him. The effect of the prophecy of the witches upon Macbeth changed his life and his future. It also changed him. Because at the start of the play Macbeth is really good and kind and loving and the big hero but at the middle of the play he is completely the opposite he is evil and two faced but at the end of the play he gets punished and has to pay up for what he did.

The witches use a great deal of symbolism to foreshadow what will happen to Macbeth later on. “Sleep shall neither night nor day, hang upon his penthouse lid.” The witches say this to the captain so this gives an idea to the audience what is going to happen to Macbeth. This leads to Macbeth saying “Macbeth shall sleep no more1” this suggests that the witches are using foreshadowing. The witches have planned this idea and suggested that this will happen to his mind and therefore this demonstrates the dramatic importance of witchcraft. This tells the audience that if the witches did not exist, Macbeth wouldn’t have ended up being a brutal killer.

The apparent dramatic importance of the witches is shown as the witches show the there apparitions to Macbeth. These three apparitions show a good view to the audience and Macbeth’s eyes but infact they are misleading and mean true distraction. “armored read”. It is the arst apparition the witches have shown.

The language of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth shows the powerful hold the witches have upon their minds. “Now o’er the one half world nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep’ witchcraft celebrates pale Hecatse offerings and withering murder.” This suggests that Macbeth has turned really evil and cannot see anything good in the world; he can only see the bad things. The word “hecates” means the leader of the witches. The paradoxes used in Macbeth reflect the order of the natural world. When Duncan is killed the natural order has been upset. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This means good is bad and bad is good. This suggests that when the witches speak, they speak with rhyming words and two opposites together. The effect upon the audience is that it makes the audience think that they are casting a spell for something.

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At the start of the play Macbeth was the brave hero who everyone respected and praised him. But after the witches had talked to Macbeth. He changed into a power hungry, evil, ambitious men. After that no one respects nor praise him. By now he has killed two people, Duncan and banquo. Now that he has killed two people he felt guilty and the guilt was now finally getting to him which is driving him crazy but at the end the guilt got to him so much that he doesn’t think about it anymore. He now thinks that no one can kill him, born a man, this brings him to his death.


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