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The Weird Sisters as Triggers for Macbeth’s Ambition Essay

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The Impact of the Weïrd Sisters on Macbeth
Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not only one of the most tragic, but also one of the most violent and uncanny plays. It is a story about war and treachery, blind ambition and murder. From the beginning, the story is governed by a brutal war between Scotland and Norway, which soon claimes its first live of Thane of Cawdor. However, it is not only this violence that creates a dark and heavy mood over the play, but also the use of black magic. The introduction of the Weïrd Sisters in the very first scene set the uncanny mood for the following actions. Their wicked atmosphere is additionally underlined by a mostly nightly setting in uncanny woods or cold castles. As a result, their evil presence dominates the mood throughout the play, even though they only occur three times (1.1, 1.3, 4.1) in Macbeth. Despite their corrupting influence on the play, their figures are difficult to define. Many critics have analysed their characteristics and compared them to several mythological beings (Z). However, the Weïrd Sisters features are so unique that they cannot fit to a single mythological figure. Similarly to their mythological background, their function within the play is controversial, too. Whereas some critics argue that they symbolize the evil itself, others think that they also act as a comic relief by using ironic statements and ambiguous spells (Z). Either way, Walter Clyde Curry states rightly that the Weïrd Sisters are „immensel complex and therefore the more stimulating, compounded out of many contradictory elements, assimilated and fused by the artistic imagination into a unified whole (Curry 396). Therefore, it is also essential to analyse their various power and their diverse influence on Macb...


... middle of paper ...


...hat function
Is smothered in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not. (1.4.131)




Works Cited

Brooke, Nicholas. „Introduction“. In: Shakespeare, William. The tragedy of Macbeth. Hrsg. Nicholas Brooke. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1990), 1-81.
Harris, Anthony. Night’s Black Agents. Witchcraft and Magic in Seventeenth- Century English Drama. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980.
Leggatt, Alexander. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. A sourcebook. London: Routledge, 2006.
Macrae, Alasdair D. F.. Macbeth. William Shakespeare. York Notes Advanced. York: York Press, 2005.
Curry, Walter Clyde. The Demonic Metaphysics of „Macbeth“. In: Studies in Philology 30:3. University of North Carolina Press (1933), 395-426.
Johnston, Mark Albert. Bearded Women in Early Modern England. In: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 47:1. Rice University (2007), 1-28.


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