| Modern English
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Act IV, Scene i, Line 10
| “Double all the troubles and hardships of men. Let the misery of Scotland increase as the fire burns and the cauldron bubbles.”
| Significance: The purpose of this well known quote is to communicate to the audience the witches’ intentions. The witches chant this line all together over a concoction they are preparing and the purpose of this is to increase the dramatic tension and visually portray how purely evil they can be. The translation of this line is to increase the hardships and misfortunes of the mortals (human beings) around them. The witches repeat this line thrice in this scene; the number three associating with evil and the witches clearly intending to want to increase the hardships of mankind for their mere satisfaction and entertainment.
| By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes:
Act IV, Scene i, Line 44
| “The tingling in my thumbs indicate that something wicked is coming this way. Let the doors open for whoever is knocking.”
| Significance: This quote is said by the second witch. With the phrase about pricking her thumb, she refers to a premonition of something that is going to happen. Then when she refers to Macbeth as “something” as opposed to “someone,” this diction is used to show that Macbeth has ruined and marred his humanity with all of the murders he has committed. In a way this quote foreshadows that something evil is going to take place soon and the witches are prepared to make sure that it happens.
| The power of man: for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
Act IV, Scene i, Line 80
| “No man that is born from a woman shall ever harm Macbeth.”
| Significance: The witches tell Macbeth that no man that is born to a woman can ever pose a threat to him....
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