The Witches of Macbeth

Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [Round about the cauldron go]
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

The three witches, casting a spell

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

While I love this passage from Macbeth, it quite possibly may not have been written by Shakespeare but added after the initial performance. In fact, all of the witches scenes may have been added later. However, with that being said, Macbeth was written during the reign of James I, who had an obsession with witches, even writing a book about them. This means that Shakespeare himself may have included the witches to garner the favor of James. In addition, Banquo from Macbeth is also believed to be a true character as well as an ancestor of King James I of England, who was also James IV of Scotland. Macbeth portrays Banquo as a hero, while in actual history, he was an accomplice of Macbeth. Whether the witches were really written by Shakespeare or not, Macbeth is a homage to King James I.

So, if you have read this far, here is some good news. This afternoon I have an interview for the job in Chicago, and tomorrow afternoon, I have an interview for the job in Florida. Both are preliminary telephone interviews, but it’s a start.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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