AP English IV - 6
11 November 2013
Author G.B. Harrison has stated that Lady Macbeth was the real cause and agent of the tragedy in The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Although Lady Macbeth deserves some of the blame, the witches are the true cause because they introduce a dangerous drive for ambition, and encouraged Macbeth to do whatever it takes for power. Lady Macbeth shows remorse and guilt, even though she does not physically commit the murders.
The witches constantly interfere in Macbeth’s life, and are even chastised by the “angerly” Hecate for giving Macbeth “riddles and affairs of death” (Act III, Scene IV). The speech Hecate gives to the weird sisters proves to the reader that they meddled with Macbeth’s life for entertainment. The problems they caused through their prophecies are what drove Macbeth to murder. This scene gives the audience an underlying layer of the play, and the readers learn that the witches have no virtuous intentions for Macbeth. It provides the information that the witches had a personal motive previously unknown to the audience.
Although Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan, she is only responsible for that murder. Lady Macbeth shows remorse for this action, and is eventually driven mad because of it. The witches, however, know of their part in the murder; yet, they continue to give Macbeth various prophecies about his fate that redeems his actions. The “double, double toil and trouble” from the witches provide a sense of paranoia to Macbeth (Act IV,