In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the prophecies as foretold by the witches along with Macbeth's "vaulting ambition" help to entrap Macbeth in circumstances that makes him pursue his aspirations of becoming King. The darkness that is prevalent both in and around the witches sets a tone of evil. This evil, darkness, and ambition is the cause of Macbeth's ultimate destruction.


Macbeth's character throughout the entirety of the drama changes from one extreme to the other. In the beginning of the drama Macbeth is a victorious war general that just saved the life of the King's son, Malcolm. King Duncan of Scotland is notified of Macbeth's bravery and awards him with the title Thane of Cawdor, while Macbeth is also the recent Thane of Glamis. Macbeth is a very kind man outside of war, but cruel when he is in it. Throughout the duration of the play Macbeth goes from all-time war hero to a man guilty of treason and murder. When awarded the title given to him by the King, Macbeth is plagued with power. Macbeth will not stop until he is the King. The King made a fatal mistake by giving that title to Macbeth. Macbeth was not who he seemed to be. "Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair" (Act 1, Line 11) This theme is constantly restated throughout the play.


Macbeth and his friend Banquo meet the witches on the heath. These witches are known to tell the future. When acknowledged, the witches greet Macbeth with three different titles, "Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King hereafter" (Act 1, Lines 48-50) this is all before Macbeth finds out about his new title of Thane of Cawdor. The witches tell Banquo that he will be the father of Kings but he will never be King himself. "Though shalt get kings, though thou be none" (Act 1, line 67).


Macbeth at first hesitated to believe the witch's predictions "The instruments of darkness tell us truths"(Act 1, Sc.3, li.124) Banquo says this to a very excited Macbeth. Macbeth is very happy to hear of his future as eventually becoming King. Banquo is trying to warn him that the witches represent evil and that their predictions can make one fall from good to evil. With the thought of becoming King in his mind, nothing can stop Macbeth now from acting on his impulses. Macbeth's "vaulting ambition" rationalizes the witch's predictions and he then knows what he is to do.


The witches play a key role in this play by setting an evil tone with their presence. Witches can also be known as products of the Devil, which also alludes to their mystifying darkness. When the witches speak of where and when they shall meet again they always talk of gloomy surroundings, which implies darkness. "In thunder, lightning, or in rain, that will be the ere the set of sun." (Act 1, sc.1, lines 2-5) This represents darkness in the drama. The predictions told to Macbeth by the witches foreshadow the outcome of evil. When told that he will become King, Macbeth then has the mindset to do whatever possible he can to obtain that title. This by far is Macbeth's hamartia.


Light versus darkness is a very prevalent theme throughout the play. Much of this play is filled with this struggle. This is symbolizing Macbeth, because in Act 1, he asks for darkness to shroud his desires and then darkness shrouds the night of the murder, "Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires"(Act 1, Sc.5, li.50-51). The light in the first two acts is King Duncan, but the struggle went in favor of darkness. This struggle occurs in every act of the play. Also, in Act 5, Scene vii, Macduff enters and says "If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, My wife and children's ghost will haunt me still"(lines 15-16). Macduff can't rest until he gets revenge on the killer of his family, something Malcolm and Fleance didn't say. Macduff is the hero of the play. He is he the light that will soon come to a final climatic battle with the dark (Macbeth). There is also a religious meaning to this: God against the devil, Macbeth being the devil.


Macbeth was insatiably ambitious. When he heard of Duncan's arrival to