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Most people in Shakespeare time believed in the powers of witches and witchcraft became the object of morbid and fevered fascination Between 1560 and 1605 hundred of people mainly women were convicted as witches and executed Witches were credited with diabolical powers They could predict the future bring on night in daytime cause fogs and tempests and kill animals They cursed animals with fatal wasting disease and could raise evil spirits by concocting a horrible brew with nauseating ingredients It was believed witches allowed the devil to suck their blood in return for a familiar an animal used as an evil servant Accused witches were examined for the devils mark a red mark on their body from where saten had sucked their blood In 1604 an act of parliament decreed anyone found guilty of practicing witchcraft should be executed If they wee convicted they endured torture and death by hanging or burning at the stake The first scene of Macbeth is very short but full of impact The thunder and lightning alone give it a dramatic opening which grabs the interest of the audience as it is representative of evil These dramatic sound effects help to set the eerie and supernatural atmosphere that Shakespeare wanted to create along with the witches Instead of seeing Macbeth Shakespeares audience is faced with three weird-looking women The witches introduce us to a dark dangerous play in where the theme of evil is central The witches say little but we learn a lot about them From the beginning we can tell that the witches can foretell the future and are creating some unpleasant magic which is to involve Macbeth This creates suspense for the audience wondering what is going to happen next The fact that the witches want to meet Macbeth should raise some suspicion in the audience The witches first mention Macbeth in the eighth line when they explain that they will meet him upon the heath This
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