Witches in MacbethTo what extent are the witches in the tragedy Macbeth responsible for Macbeth's actions?The Three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are introduced right at the beginning of the play. They recount to Macbeth three prophesies. That Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glams and King. These prophesies introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness. Macbeth will eventually follow through on killing king Duncan.
It was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things. This brings into the play idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play. One can ponder if Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches.
It is however, more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for his own actions throughout the play and in the end it was he who made the final decisions. The witches could foretell the future, they can add temptation, and influence Macbeth, but they can not control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by his own sense of guilt. This causes him to become insecure as to the reasons for his actions which in turn causes him to commit more murders. The witches offer great enticement, but it is in the end, each individuals decision to fall for the temptation, or to be strong enough to resist their captivation. The three Witches are only responsible for the introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideasin Macbeth head, but they are not responsible for his actions throughout the play.
Lady Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear". (I,V, 26) She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. Before the speech that Lady Macbeth gives in act one scene five, Macbeth is resolved not to go through with the killing of the king.
However, Lady Macbeth manipulates at Macbeth's self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery. This then convinces Macbeth to commit regicide. It is like a child who is easily guided. Lady Macbeth knows this and acts on it accordingly.
Although Macbeth has the final say in whether or not to go through with the initial killing, he loves Lady Macbeth and wants to make her happy. Lady Macbeth is the dominating individual in the relationship which is shown in her soliloquy in Act 1 SceneIt seems that she can convince him to do anything as long as she pushes the right buttons. On the other hand, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, there is a reversal of natural order, and Macbeth becomes the dominating partner. Lady Macbeth becomes subservient. She becomes pathetic and only a shadow of her former self.
Ambition plays a large role in this tragedy. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have "vaulting ambition" that drives them. Lady Macbeth's ambition drives her to manipulate Macbeth into committing regicide. Macbeth's fierce ambition is present before the witch's prophesies. He would never have thought seriously about killing Duncan without the witches. Yet.