This represents the way in which all order in his life continues to deteriorate after he has heard the witches’ prophecies, and how all that seems close and certain, such as King Duncan and Banquo, will be destroyed and become nothing.
Macbeth is close to Banquo at this point and is loyal to his king, as he has just fought for him.
Shakespeare uses the witches to display on a small scale what will happen throughout the play.
In many ways the sailor and his boat are representatives of Macbeth when he is ruling Scotland.
‘ The witches create storms, with each of the other witches saying ‘I’ll give thee a wind’, thereby making the water extremely choppy so the husband is unable to dock his boat.
However, the first witch states that ‘his bark cannot be lost’.
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The witches are vital elements in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, not just to make it successful in Jacobean times, but also to add depth and atmosphere to the play.
It is known that Macbeth was performed for James I and is assumed that the plot of the effect of witchcraft on the monarchy was devised to please the King, with James being said to have claimed to be a descendent of Banquo.
Shakespeare would have been paid a large amount of money to have his play performed for King James, so it was in his interest to include a subject that the King was passionate about.