Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Welcome to Witches' Wednesday everyone!!!
Who will be the lucky witch featured today? C.J. Ellisson? Erin Cole?? Marissa Farrar?? Kidding -- neither of those ladies have supernatural powers (at least, that's what they told me, but I have my own thoughts on that ;-). No, we're going a bit further back in time to Scotland to discuss, ever-so-briefly (because no doubt theses have been written on these three Weird Sisters): the witches in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth.
I wish more people would re-do Macbeth, as it's one of my favorite plays, moreso than Hamlet (which seems to have like 5,000 film versions out there). Maybe one of the reasons I'm fond of it is because it does feature supernatural elements like witchcraft. This serves as a plot device in and of itself -- witchcraft goes agains the natural order of things. And according to the world order view which Elizabethans held, when one thing gets knocked out of whack, then everything goes. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" and all that good stuff.
In the play Macbeth, the only "witch" who is named is actually a fourth witch, or more likely the queen of the witches herself, Hecate. Apparently, in Shakespeare's later works, he refers to the witches as Glenda, Ursula and Medea (and you thought the names of the evil witch in Disney's The Little Mermaid and the good witch in Wizard of Oz were original, did you? ;-).
Three witches, three being an important number in various mythologies and religions. No doubt the idea upon which Shakespeare in part based his vision of witches is actually the representation of the goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, who has three forms: maiden, mother, and crone (three phases of womanhood), although I don't think the play ascribes any ages to the characters.
Macbeth, although repulsed by the witches, finds them intriguing and eventually pays them a visit in his obsession over their prediction that he will become king. Of course, this was the theme of the play -- how much of our lives is mapped out for us versus the free will to choose another path. Macbeth heard the witches' prophecy, but did he have to act on it and fulfill it?
Anyway, though the witches are likely to get a bad rap for their role in Macbeth's mischief, it's very fun to study and talk about them (and imagine them as pretty as the witches on Charmed!).
I'd be a bit remiss in this post if I didn't post some of the lines made famous by the Weird Sisters, like these: