Do the images of witches contribute to the evil atmosphere in Macbeth?

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You can read a Shakespearean play over and over and the fun of it is in the re-reading of the play from different persepctives.  Elizabethans did believe in witchcraft and witches were considered to be evil, and so to an extent they did contribute to the whole aura of evil. However... You cannot make a person do something if the idea wasn't already there in his/her mind.  Macbeth already had the thought in his head of killing Duncan, so he was easily led astray. By the second time Macbeth meets with the witches you can see him becoming more arrogant... he doesn't really need them...The greatest evil in the play is in the man himself.  He is the one who kills a king and gets others to commit crimes.  Yes, I believe the witches add to the whole idea of evil, but Macbeth, the man, plays a much more significant role as a person capable of heinous crimes. 

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Yes, certainly the witches, whenever they appear in the play, suggest a very strong image of evil because they appear unnatural. Lightening and thunder introduce them in 1.1, and their even their words portend evil, turning meaning upside down: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, / Hover through the fog and filthy air" (1.1.11-12). After their first conversation with Macbeth, Banquo says "the earth hath bubbles . . . And these are of them (1.3. 79), suggesting something unnatural. Act 2.3 also uses images of the unnatural, showing nature revolting against itself in protest of the imminent murder of Duncan. Lennox says, "The night has been unruly. . .Lamentings heard i' th' air; strange screams of death,/....Some say, the earth was feverous, and did shake" (55-61).

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