Discuss the role of three witches in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare

In William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, the witches are weird sisters. In some way, they resemble the mythological Fates, who impersonally control the human destiny. They are malevolent characters. They embody evil. They control the sequence of events of the play in true sense. When they meet Macbeth and Banquo, they greet Macbeth as the thane of Glamis, the thane of Cawdor, and also as the future king of Scotland. The three figures predict that Banquo would be ‘lesser than Macbeth and greater! not so happy, but much happier!’ and that his descendants would be kings, although he would never reign. Although Banquo regards the witches as ‘ministers of darkness’, who tell men truths in little things to betray them into deeds of greatest consequences, Macbeth is obsessed with their prophecy. On the fulfillment of the first, these prophecies motivate both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to be the king and the queen of Scotland. So Macbeth murders King Duncan, and becomes the king himself, and kills Banquo and Macduff’s family. In this way, the prediction of the witches leads Macbeth to the path of self-destruction. Tormented by terrible dreams and miserable thoughts, Macbeth meets the witches once again to know from them about the worst that may happen. The witches show him three spirits and a procession of eight shadowy kings followed by Banquo’s ghost. The first spirit, an armed head, tells Macbeth to be aware of Macduff. The second spirit, a bloody child, tells him that he would not be harmed by anyone born of woman. The third spirit, a crowned child with a branch of a tree in its hand, tells Macbeth that he would not be vanquished until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane. The procession of eight shadowy kings followed by Banquo’s ghost suggests that Banquo’s descendants would be kings. After losing his last hold of confidence, Macbeth assesses the predictions and promises of the witches as ‘lying equivocations’. According to him, they deceive people with words that have double meanings. They kept their promise literally, but disappointed his hopes with a different meaning. Finally, Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane as Malcolm’s soldiers come forward, each of them carrying a branch of tree from Birnam wood. Macduff, who was untimely taken out from his mother’s womb, challenges Macbeth and beheads him. In the play Macbeth, everything happens in line with the predictions of the witches.