A: “I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his penthouse lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se’n nights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.”
Much more than the other elements, the Witches introduce an element of supernatural mystery and fear into Macbeth. As Coleridge says, “as true a creation of Shakespeare’s as his Ariel and Caliban” and “wholly different from the representation of witches in the contemporary writers, and yet presented a sufficient external resemblance to the creatures of vulgar prejudice, to act immediately on the audience.” It is significant that the play begins with a brief meeting of the three witches. A very short prologue is long enough to awaken curiosity, but not to satisfy it. We have come in Act I, Scene I ,where at the end of the witches’ meeting, just as they are arranging their next appointment before their familiar spirits-devils in animal shapes-call them away into the ‘fog and filthy air’. The apparent confusion implied in their words –“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” points to the general upheaval of order to which Scotland is led by Macbeth and that constitutes the main action of the play. “So fair and foul a day I have not seen”—a strange coincidence evidently establishes a connection-a kind of affinity- between Macbeth and the Witches, even before they meet. It also brings out the possibility that Macbeth, who has so far been referred to as a brave general in the heights of glory, has a somewhat tainted soul and is, therefore vulnerable to the Witches’ machinations: “First Witch “Here’s the blood of a bat. Hecate Put in that; oh put in that.
Second Witch Here’s libbard’s bane.
First Witch The juice of toad, the oil of adder. Second Witch That will make the younker madder. Hecate Putin: ther’s all, and rid the stench. Firestone Nay, here’s three ounces of the red-haired wench. All Round: around, around, & c.” “ Who can tell us more about a man’s character than his wife? Shakespeare allows Lady Macbeth to explain her husband’s character as she understands it, and although she cannot see the whole truth, she tells us a great deal about Macbeth that is true. Two lines of her soliloquy in Act I, Scène 5 are particularly significant: “Thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: ‘’
By ‘illness’ Lady Macbeth means ‘evil’; but her metaphor is appropriate: Macbeth catches evil, as one might catch a disease. The play shows how his symptoms develop, until there is no hope of a cure, and the man must die------! “Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry 'Hold, hold!'
When Lady Macbeth makes her first appearance in the play, she is seen reading the letter from her husband in which he tells her “his dearest partner of greatness”, of his success in the battle, the prediction of the witches and their partial fulfillments. In her comments on the letter ,she expresses her admiration for his greatness, and wishes for him all that he wishes for himself. Aware of her husband’s weakness, she is determined to further the schemes using the whole force of her superior will lead him into prompt action. Her cruelty is only assumed and meant for the betterment of her husband’s career. -----What beast was't, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. --------
Lady Macbeth is feminine not only as a perfect wife but also as a mother. She has given suck and...
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