Witches “Inception”

Maybe I watch too many movies; but is it crazy to believe the witches are planting idea’s in Macbeth’s head, ultimately controlling his fate? This isn’t the future being told, but instead, pre-meditated ideas that convince Macbeth to follow their well-thoughtout plan.  Macbeth’s behavior is manipulated by the witches, resulting in his transformation of good to evil.  

The witches begin their prophecy by telling Macbeth he will become thane of Cawdor. Duncan says, “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive.  Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth” (1.2.63-65). The audience knows that Macbeth is going to become thane of Cawdor before his prophecy is given.  The witches know this already because it already happened. This is because they have the power to appear and disappear, wherever and whenever they please.  The witches are not telling the future, but rather using their ability of teleportation to relay information to Macbeth. It is because of these actions that gives him justifiable reasoning to believe that the witches so-called prophecies are true.  The third witch says, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (1.3.50).  Hook, line, and sinker.  Macbeth is told he will become future king.  It’s only a matter of time before Macbeth is notified of his promotion to thane of Cawdor.  This leads Macbeth to entrust the prophecy, making him “want” to believe the possibility of rule.  The witches’ manipulate Macbeth’s mind, which results in Duncan’s death.  Banquo says, “Thou played’st most foully for’t.  Yet it was said it should not stand in thy posterity, but that myself should be the root and father of many kings” (3.1.3-6).  Macbeth is not nobly crowned king; he has to kill to gain this power.  His own actions are controlling his fate. He’s taken the prophecy of the witches as motivation to make these claims come true.  The stage directions say, “Enter the ghost of Banquo” (3.4).  This is to allow the audience to know that the ghost does exist.  Shakespeare intentionally does this for the audience to see that supernatural forces are seen by Macbeth. This puts more credibility to the witches true existence that have the power to manipulate Macbeth’s actions through witty rhetoric. I believe the witches put the ghost of Banquo at the table, in efforts to continue their demise of Macbeth.  The knowledge of the ghost existing, and seeing the witches control of Macbeth, allows for the audience to become sympathetic towards his character. I am the part of the the audience that sides with Macbeth. If he never came in contact with these witches, the future could be very different. There would have been the strong possibility that he would embrace thane of Cawdor, and Duncan would still be king.  

Macbeth was a great general that started off a hero. His fall began after his contact with the witches.  Macbeth was brainwashed by ideas of power and greed, and allowed the witches to control his future.  He had a choice, but bought into a prophecy that heavily relied on his own courses of action.  The witches true qualities were to manipulates decisions and actions, not tell the future.

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3 thoughts on “Witches “Inception”

  1. alexatirapelli

    WOAH. What a strange way to view the play – but in a brilliant way! That changes my whole perspective on the chain of events that occur within the play… it totally fits the witches’ manipulative, connivingly clever characters. This is an interesting comment on fate and whether or not exists, as well as the idea that we always have a choice, even when it seems that we don’t. The latter idea reminds me of class on Tuesday, when we spoke about Lady Macbeth’s ability to manipulate Macbeth into a violent decision by bringing his masculinity/manhood into the argument.

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  2. coleenhiggins

    This big question is one of the reasons Macbeth is one of my favorite plays. Fate or free will? Or as you bring up in a great theory, is there a combination of the two at play? Would Macbeth have committed all those murders if the witches hadn’t planted the idea of being king in his head, or was he destined to do it no matter what? And did he have any power to resist the idea after hearing the prophecy? Could he have turned around and said no, and been content with his title? I think what makes the plot so compelling is that we will never be done pondering over these questions.

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  3. irenecorvinus

    I think one of the better readings of Macbeth is to question the witches. Ultimately, what it comes down to is: is this Macbeth’s fate or did this happen because he chose to put something into action? Would the prophecy have been revealed in due time had Macbeth not chosen to kill Duncan? OR does the prophecy only come true because he does kill Duncan?

    I personally like to think that the witches really just planted the seed and had Macbeth not taken action he may of still risen to power but in a non guilty way that would’ve allowed him to be a great leader instead of a paranoid one.

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