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The Power of the Feminine in Macbeth In the play and both film versions of Shakespeares Macbeth women are given a fairly large amount of agency or power Interestingly enough the women control not only their own destiny but also that of our hero himself Macbeth Femininity particularly that of the maternal is a very widely used theme in the play and films However it represents not only the nurture and support of a mother but also a more terrifying aspect of womanhood- one of deceit manipulation and power The prominent female figures are the witches and Lady Macbeth The three witches in the tragedy are introduced right at the beginning of the play and the brief opening scenes give an immediate impression of mystery horror and uncertainty The witches create an atmosphere of evil and disorder Everything that the witches do implies otherworldly power and a sense of inescapable and enchanting evil However Banquo does not seem to be drawn into this spell Banquo says in act 1 scene 3 line 124 The instruments of darkness tell us truths Win us with honest trifles to betrays in deepest consequence Banquos idea of the witches is obviously one of mistrust and misgiving He calls them instruments of darkness and the devil He sees beyond the witches and can see that they are evil whereas Macbeth is taken in by the witches Their feminine spell has ensnared him It is Macbeths interest in the sisters that motivates him to listen to and speak with them Had Macbeth followed his friends advice and left the witches before they spoke the tragedy may have never occurred Later on in the play after he has let their prophecy determine his actions he again seeks them out and asks them to speak into his life or control his future and destiny As apparent as the witchs influence is their power cannot even compare to that of Lady MacBeth Lady Macbeth
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