Hamlet by William Shakespeare: The Three Weird Sisters

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As in Wagner’s Ring, ancient pagan cultures often depicted the three mythological Norns, with their transcendent knowledge, as representatives of “holy things”: nature in its most serene and sublime form (Vorspiel). In Christian interpretation, however, because of the theist’s aversion to knowledge as a progenitor of sinful ambition, the Norns are affiliates of Satan. Indeed, both Genesis 3 and Macbeth are allegorical representations of man’s downfall as a result of the loss of innocence. In Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates that knowledge inspires reckless ambition, which, in humanity’s fallibility, is bound to suppress morality in favour of selfish desire. Firstly, the characters of the three Weird Sisters are symbolic of Satan, using knowledge to bring needless suffering into the world. Secondly, the character of Lady Macbeth, symbolic of Eve, becomes insane as a result of intrapersonal conflict. Finally, the character of Macbeth is symbolic of Adam, rejecting morality and God, embracing nihilism, and, ultimately, doomed to a Faustian death. Therefore, through the Witches’ prophecies, the collapse of Lady Macbeth, and the nihilistic rejection of life effectuated by Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates in his play Macbeth that knowledge is essentially Satanic: a firm moral foundation is required to restrict the ambition and immorality it enkindles. The three Weird Sisters, or as Tolman explains, the “Norns of Past, Present, and Future,” embody knowledge that is utilised to bring about man’s downfall (92). The Sisters are not realistic characters per se, but are constant and unchanging, suggesting a spiritual, demonic level of being. To begin with, the Weird Sisters are shown, as a result of an evidently Mephistophelian exchange... ... middle of paper ... ...edge of Good and Evil did indeed produce the lustful Fall of Man, but it was in Christ that God fulfilled the covenant. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (King James Version, 1 Cor. 15.22). Works Cited 1 Corinthians. The Bible: Authorized King James Version. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print. Hudson, Henry Norman. The Harvard Shakespeare. Boston: Ginn & Heath, 1880. Print. Rolfe, William J. Introduction. Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. Harper and Brothers, 1877. 9-42. Print. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Ken Roy. Toronto, ON: Harcourt Brace, 1988. Print. Tolman, Albert Harris. Notes on Macbeth. Baltimore: Modern Language Association of America, 1896. Print. Wagner, Richard. Gotterdammerung: Musical Drama in Three Acts (five Scenes) and Prologue. Trans. Rudolph Sabor. New York: G. Schirmer, 1960. Print.
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