Fear Of Sorcery In Macbeth

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The fear of Sorcery and Witchcraft has been around for hundreds of years. Throughout the middle ages women were accused of witchcraft .Many people feared witches because they were perceived as evil beings. Witchcraft is a legitimate religion and is still practiced today. The play Macbeth (which we learnt earlier this year) includes three characters whom are witches. Shakespeare chooses to open this play with these three odd characters and by doing so he draws in the curiosity of the audience. These witches are depicted as strange and quite freaky- “What are these…look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth…”. These characters interested me and drove me to look up more information about witches in the time Shakespeare wrote the play ‘Macbeth’…show more content…
People would report their neighbors, acquaintances and rivals either for revenge or to seem innocent. If accused of being a witch one would be tortured into confession. After being proven guilty of being a witch many were also tortured and forced to incriminate others of also being witches. During the witch hunts between the years 1450 and 1750 about 110,000 people were tortured on the accusation of being witches and between 40,000 and 60,000 were killed. Witches were killed in horrible and all different ways. They were most commonly hanged or burnt alive in public. Many people accused others of witchcraft as revenge or for personal gain (land/wealth). In our day and age a witches are normally associated with the “bad guys” in children’s story books. They are commonly portrayed as wicked old women with wrinkled skin, warts and pointy hats. Although commonly portrayed like this, it is doubtful if any witch ever met this description. People portrayed witches like this in order to rid their minds of the horrors of the past. We try convincing ourselves that witches don’t exist but they do, or at least did. During the middle ages many people feared witches, from most uneducated farmer to the skilled professors and scholars. So what is a…show more content…
When someone became ill for an unknown reason, the illness was commonly blamed on a witch who was practicing black magic. During the middle ages unexplained injuries, illnesses and deaths were commonly blamed on black magic. Black magic potions usually contained different types of animal parts mixed together into a potion or spell. It is said that some witches practicing black magic would also use human organs, bones, and flesh, but no hard evidence was ever found proving this. White magic is the good side of magic. Whit magic potions and spells were used as luck, wealth, love and health potions and spells. The potions were usually made of plants and herbs. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare opens up the play by introducing three witches. During the middle ages witches were feared throughout Europe. By opening with these characters Shakespeare set the eerie mood for the play. These witches are later described as weird, withered and male looking. As previously mentioned witches didn’t have any specific appearance. Shakespeare is playing on his audiences’ fear of the stereotypical witch. In the third scene of act one the witches talk about cursing a sailor and his wife because the wife wouldn’t share her chestnuts. Later in the book these same witches also summon apparitions using all different parts of humans and animals such as snake, newt, frog, bat, dog, worm, lizard, owl, toad, dragon, goat, a Turk, a Tartar, a Jew and many

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