Witches & Witches in Macbeth
The history and beliefs about witches go all the way back to the Old Testament in the bible, which forbids the act of witchcraft (Oster 228). In the seventeenth century, there were many different views about witches. William Shakespeare, author of The Tragedy of Macbeth, had an interest in witches and the supernatural. In Macbeth, Shakespeare shows his interest and incorporates three witches, which are evil spirits that change Macbeth’s life forever. The purpose was to gain the interest of King James VI of Scotland, or James I of England, who also had very strong beliefs in the supernatural (Witchcraft in Macbeth 2).
Different people and different places around the world have different beliefs about witches. When most people visualize a witch, they think about an old green lady with a big nose riding a broomstick; this is just a stereotype. Some believe that witchcraft deals with having an agreement with the devil, by exchanging your eternal soul for supernatural powers. People that had this belief thought that the so-called witches worshipped the devil and that they were cannibals. A cannibal is someone who eats human flesh, especially for magical or religious purposes. The witches were said to eat humans, and then use the fats and left-over parts for potions and spells (Midelfort 2).
In ancient Greece, witchcraft was believed to be magic and was not seen as a threat, unlike many other beliefs. In Greek literature, Madea and Circe were two witch characters who used destructive magic to express emotions, including anger, frustration, and even lust (Midelfort 3).
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the first documentation of witches, said the act of witchcraft was represented as an abomination and was forbidden. This was because people thought that it was a denial of God’s infinite power over things like blessing, punishments, and future, which is why witches are said to be able to see the future. They thought it was an attempt to...