Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Was Macbeth evil from the beginning or do you think the witches made him this way? by saying "evil" i mean he's evil because he killed Duncan and had Banquo killed. I wonder if he still would have done what he did even if the witches never told him anything about his future.

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blacksheepunite eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Do the witches *make* Macbeth evil? They don't have that kind of power. They can already work with what is already there. Having said that, they do seem to have awaken something within him. They plant the seeds that he allows to grow into pure evil.

Had they not told him anything about his future, he may have gone along happily fighting on Duncan's sides and, just as happily, being rewarded for his acts. The witches are masters at sowing seeds that humans use to destroy themselves.

Macbeth knows that what the witches tell him "cannot be ill", but also "cannot be good." Unlike Banquo , who immediately suspects the witches motive (he says sometimes the instruments of darkness tell small truths to gain the soul), Macbeth seems willing to suspend his misgivings, even to the point where he almost immediately pictures himself...

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lmillerm eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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revolution | Student

Yes, the witches are the main culprit for the evil path that Macbeth take and they play a significant part in the bad choices that Macbeth took. They deceitfully addressed Macbeth with three glorious titles "Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and King", which gives Macbeth false hope and desires and give Macbeth a wonderful ambition to take control over the whole empire. To fulfill this destiny, he had decided to kill King Duncan and Banquo in his path of conquest and world domination. If the witches had never told him anything about these title positions, Macbeth would be happy to help Duncan and being rewarded for good work just the same. He won't have all these selfish thoughts and desires that keeps on clouding his life and he won't have to needlessly kill people to usurp the throne. This would cause hatred to rise up to a breakable point and people would start killing each other just for the throne and bloodshed would start spilling.