Witches In Macbeth

To what extent
are the witches in the tragedy Macbeth responsible for Macbeth’s actions?

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
It is however, more realistic to believe that Macbeth was responsible for
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 ideas
in 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
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
individual in the relationship which is shown in her soliloquy in Act 1 Scene

It 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
prophesies. He would never have thought seriously about killing Duncan without

the witches. Yet the combination of both his ambitious nature and the
initial prophesies
leads him to kill the king. It is Lady Macbeth who states
"Thou wouldst be great/ Art
not without ambition." Macbeth states that it
is "his besetting sin: I have no spur/ To
prick the sides of my intent,
but only/ Vaulting ambition." Macbeth’s continued
ambition is present in
his wanting to have a succession of kings after him. Macbeth’s
is deep within him and because of this, both the witches and Lady Macbeth are

able to sway him to evil. It is this ambition that gets him into so much
trouble initially.
Once Macbeth kills for the first time, he has no choice
but to continue to cover up his
wrong doings, or risk loosing everything
he has worked so hard for. In the end, it all
comes to Macbeth himself.
Everyone is responsible for his own destiny. This is an
essential theme
in this tragedy. Macbeth chooses to gamble with his soul and when he
this it is only him who chooses to lose it. He is responsible for anything
he does and
must take total accountability for his actions. Macbeth is the
one who made the final
decision to carry out his actions. He made these
final decisions and continued with the
killings to cover that of King Duncan.
The killing of Duncan starts an unstoppable