Hi, in our group presentation I played the first witch. The part that our group performed comes towards the beginning of Macbeth and it includes the scene where Macbeth is first introduced into the Story. Because the whole play revolves around Macbeth the scene my group and I acted is important. As witch one I wanted to portray an image that was very supernatural, and queer. To do this I personally tried to change the tone of my voice into something fairly squeaky but even then it is important to remember that the first witch is fairly dominating and therefore at the same time I also tried to make my voice strong and powerful.
My facial expressions also tried to emphasize my power over the other two witches and over Macbeth and Banquo. There was a lot of body movement involved in the scene, like I kept waving my arms about to show that I was different from the normal people that were accepted in society at that time. As a group we tried to use our space in a variety of ways. We kept trying to form certain shapes and layouts using our positions to show the paranormal aspect of the whole part. I think that the main reason why Shakespeare used witches in this play was to try and destabilize society.
During the time that the play was written, society was very orthodox and very prejudiced against anything that was different in even the slightest. The fact that the first time we meet Macbeth is with the witches, symbolises that there may also be something bad and evil about him. This is proved later in the story when Macbeth kills king Duncan. As a group we tried to use as many different drama techniques as we possibly could so that the scene would be more interesting to watch and to a point even be more effective.
For example the bit when the witches predict Macbeth’s future for him and he get a bit confused, as one of the witches me and the two other witches tried to confuse the whole situation a bit more by talking over one another, so that although it could be understood what each of us were saying the over all effect is still jumbled. Many concerns can be raised by the issues that are bought up in Macbeth, and I think that it is important to remember that the reactions that would have come from an audience in the times when this play was written would be different to the reactions of people today.
Reactions to the witches and the mystical theme that runs throughout the play will differ now to what they were when this play was first written. People now would accept the witches to be something supernatural, and although some people will believe that they exist and others wont, the general feeling will be that they are like any other character in the play. However people from Shakespearean days are likely to have thought that they were bad and would have treated them as outcasts and usually the witches would be unaccepted.
I think this is because people are now more knowledgeable on this subject and therefore are more accepting towards it. It is a well-known philosophical rule that people are always categorizing things into good and bad. It is often the case that people put things into the bad Category when they are unfamiliar with its concept. Therefore both past and present reactions to the witches can be justified to a certain extent.
The fact that people were unfamiliar with witches and things like that is shown when Banquo questions them, saying “what are these, so withered and wild in their attire….. Moral issues can also be raised and these can include things like is it right to be prejudiced towards anything no matter how different it may be. Matters like these I think will always be opinionated, but the opinion of the majority of the public is now also different to what it was when Macbeth was written. I also think that this is what Shakespeare aimed to do, he wanted to try and make the society of his day think.
As for historical issues that have been raised, one thing that I noted was that there has been a lot of change in the way that people think. Also King James did not believe in witches and as a result it seemed as though his country did not follow the idea of witches. People in those days who were women-haters did not see harm in all the witch trials that took place, but if something like that was to take place today. People in King James rule at times tried to use religion to support their very sexist and prejudiced views.