The Differences between Macbeth in Real
Life and in the Play.
Real life Play
He was the king of the Scotts He was the Scottish General and thane of Glamis
who was led to wicked thoughts by the prophecies
of the three witches.
He ruled by efficient government and promoted
He was a brave soldier and a powerful man, but not
He ruled equably. He was power hungry and was a murderer.
He married Kenneth the III’s granddaughter
which strengthen his claim to the throne.
He was crown king of Scotland.
He imposed law and order. He proved himself better on the battlefield than
politically, because he lacked skills for ruling
without being a tyrant.
He was always uneasy when he committed crimes.
He responded to every problem with violence and
Why did Shakespeare include supernatural elements in the play
In Macbeth, the supernatural is and integral part of the structure
of the plot. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into
character, and augments the impact of many key scenes. The
supernatural appears to the audience in many varied forms not only
does a ghost appear but also a floating dagger, witches and
prophetic apparitions make appearances. Shakespeare’s
contemporaries believed in the supernatural very strongly and a
majority of them were frightened of it, including the king of that
time (King James I.)
The witches were a symbol of evil, and Shakespeare uses this fear
of the devil to give his plays an additional eerie atmosphere and
haunting effect. The witches are the most striking voice of
unnaturalness and disorder. Lady Macbeth offers no comment on
the witches, the ‘Metaphysical aid’, who promise so much to her
husband. It is Macbeth who needs the witches to tell him what is in
his own mind, but is too afraid to acknowledge, he refers to them as
‘Instruments of Darkness’
What was the attitude of the British to witchcraft during
the 15th -16th centuries?
The fact that witches were used as a
representation of darkness and conflict, as well as
prophets that led someone to commit regicide,
shows the negative image of them in that time.
The role of witches can say a lot about popular
thoughts and views on witches in that time. They
are depicted as old women, who are almost other
worldly. This was a common view of the witch,
with many descriptions from the period taking
away the human aspect of them, and describing
them as creatures. Their representation is very
similar to how the popular culture of Renaissance
England would have viewed witches in their
What happened to those who were taught to be witches in
Renaissance in England?
Witches convicted of murder by witch craft were to be executed but the
punishment for witches in England was hanging, not burning at the stake
which was the terrible death that was inflicted on French and Spanish
witches. Torture was not allowed as part of the investigatory of
punishment procedure for witches.
Elizabethan Witches – Black witches and white witches (Cunning Folk or
Up to the Renaissance period the wisdom of the Wise Women or Cunning
Folk – the white witches were seen as helpful, if not invaluable, members of
the community. The Black witches were seen as those who practised the
secret arts in order to do physical or practical harm to others.
Elizabethan Witch Trials
Witch trials took place in the county during the Elizabethan era. The first
witch trial to appear in a secular court un England resulting in a series of
witch trials in Chelmsford, Essex. The second Chelmsford witch trial of
1579 once again brought the unfortunate old Elizabeth Frances to answer
accusations of witch craft. The third Chelmsford Witch trial of 1589 saw
the hanging of Joan Prentice, Joan Upney and Joan Cunny.
Are there any countries today in which society still believes in and
Yes, there are current countries in society that still believes in and the
punishment of witchcraft.
o Belief in black magic persists in Papua New Guinea, where communities
are warping under the pressure of the mining boom’s unfulfilled
expectations. Women are blamed, accused of sorcery and branded as
witches — with horrific consequences.
o Tens of thousands across America - some of them with university
degrees - are dabbling in witchcraft, Satanism, voodoo, and other forms
of black and white magic. Witches appear openly on television. Every
high school is said to have its own witch. In Cleveland you can rent a
witch to liven up a party. There are some 80,000 persons practicing
white magic in the United States, with 6,000 in Chicago alone.