Macbeth was not influenced by the witchesI need 3 arguments about why Macbeth was not influenced by the witches. This is so hard because i believe in the opposite and i have so much evidence for...

Macbeth was not influenced by the witches

I need 3 arguments about why Macbeth was not influenced by the witches. This is so hard because i believe in the opposite and i have so much evidence for that, but I can't argue against the thesis(title).

any ideas would be greatly appreciated

Expert Answers
vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your teacher may be using the tactic of making you argue against your own position in order to help you spot potential weaknesses in your own position and thus ultimately strengthen your own argument.  In any case, here are some quotations from the play that may imply that Macbeth is already politically ambitious even without the witches' influence:

  • Macbeth. Your children shall be kings.
  • Macbeth. And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?


Macbeth. [Aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! 
The greatest is behind.


Macbeth. [Aside]. Two truths are told, 240
As happy prologues to the swelling act 
Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen. 
[Aside] This supernatural soliciting] 
Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill, 
Why hath it given me earnest of success, 245
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor: 
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion 
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair 
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, 
Against the use of nature? Present fears 250
Are less than horrible imaginings: 
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, 
Shakes so my single state of man that function 
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is 
But what is not.


  • Macbeth. [Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, 
    Without my stir.
  • Banquo. New horrors come upon him, 
    Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould 260
    But with the aid of use.
  • Macbeth. [Aside] Come what come may, 
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.


  • Macbeth. [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step 
    On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, 
    For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; 
    Let not light see my black and deep desires: 
    The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, 335
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.



[Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter]

  • Lady Macbeth. 'They met me in the day of success: and I have 345
    learned by the perfectest report, they have more in 
    them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire 
    to question them further, they made themselves air, 
    into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in 
    the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who 350
    all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title, 
    before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred 
    me to the coming on of time, with 'Hail, king that 
    shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver 
    thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou 355
    mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being 
    ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it 
    to thy heart, and farewell.'







litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's hard to argue what you don't believe, isn't it?  Since you have to, play a game called the Devil’s Advocate.  This is where you put aside your own beliefs and try to think of other scenarios.  What comes to mind to me is that he might have done what he wanted to do either way, no matter what the witches taught him.  How did he feel about MacDuff?

litqks | Student

It appears impossible to answer that Macbeth was not at all influenced by the Witches, as his intrigue surrounding their prophesies 'you imperfect speakers tell me more' would imply the opposite. However, it could argue that it was not the witches which influenced him, as they only planted the seeds of though 'which grain will grow and which will not' and it was the temptation of 'Thane of Cawdor' when granted to him by the King that influenced him greater as he saw the 'black and deep desire' becoming a reality for the first time. Equally it can also be argued that greater than the abstract witches it was Lady Macbeth, Macbeths female antithisis which influenced him more by attacking his manhood. His pride is built upon his foundations of stealthy warfare 'was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself'- influencing him in a way no other can by implying his actions haphazard and slapdash. Finally Duncan through his flattening of Macbeth through his poisoned chalice could be interpreted to influence Nacbeth to commit the crime. He set the president with the title of Cawdor, that Macbeth would be king, and then takes it away granting it to Malcom when he clearly states 'which honour must not accompanied invest him only' illustrative how he is baiting macbeth as he is stating that one must be a 'peeless kinsman' in order to get the throne which Macbeth is- tempting him to seek it.