The Three Witches known as the Weird Sisters or Wayward Sisters, are characters in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth. They hold a striking resemblance to the three Fates of classical mythology, are intended as a twisted version of the white-robed incarnations of destiny; the witches lead Macbeth to his demise. Their origin lies in Holinshed's Chronicles, a history of England and Ireland. Other possible sources, aside from Shakespeare's imagination, include British folklore, such contemporary treatises on witchcraft as King James VI of Scotland's Daemonologie, the Norns of Norse mythology, ancient classical myths of the Fates: the Greek Moirai and the Roman Parcae. Productions of Macbeth began incorporating portions of Thomas Middleton's contemporaneous play The Witch circa 1618, two years after Shakespeare's death. Shakespeare's witches are prophets who hail Macbeth, the general, early in the play, predict his ascent to kingship. Upon killing the king and gaining the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears them ambiguously predict his eventual downfall.
The witches, their "filthy" trappings and supernatural activities, set an ominous tone for the play. Artists in the eighteenth century, including Henry Fuseli and William Rimmer, depicted the witches variously, as have many directors since; some have exaggerated or sensationalised the hags, or have adapted them to different cultures, as in Orson Welles's rendition of the weird sisters as voodoo priestesses. Some film adaptations have cast the witches as such modern analogues as hippies on drugs, or goth schoolgirls, their influence reaches the literary realm as well in such works as the Discworld and Harry Potter series. The name "weird sisters" is found in most modern editions of Macbeth. However, the First Folio's text reads: The weyward Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the Sea and Land... In scenes in the first folio the witches are called "weyward", but never "weird"; the modern appellation "weird sisters" derives from Holinshed's original Chronicles. However, modern English spelling was only starting to become fixed by Shakespeare's time and the word'weird' had connotations beyond the common modern meaning.
The Wiktionary etymology for "weird" includes this observation: " was extinct by the 16th century in English. It survived in Scots, whence Shakespeare borrowed it in naming the Weird Sisters, reintroducing it to English; the senses "abnormal", "strange" etc. arose via reinterpretation of "Weird Sisters" and date from after this reintroduction." One of Shakespeare's principal sources for the Three Witches is found in the account of King Duncan in Raphael Holinshed's history of Britain, The Chronicles of England and Ireland. In Holinshed, the future King Macbeth of Scotland and his companion Banquo encounter "three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world" who hail the men with glowing prophecies and vanish "immediately out of their sight". Holinshed observes that "the common opinion was that these women were either the Weird Sisters, that is… the goddesses of destiny, or else some nymphs or fairies endued with knowledge of prophecy by their necromantical science."Another principal source was the Daemonologie of King James published in 1597 which included a news pamphlet titled Newes from Scotland that detailed the infamous North Berwick witch trials of 1590.
Not only had this trial taken place in Scotland, witches involved confessed to attempt the use of witchcraft to raise a tempest and sabotage the boat King James and the Queen of Scots were on board during their return trip from Denmark. The three witches discuss the raising of winds at sea in the opening lines of Act 1 Scene 3; the news pamphlet states: Moreover she confessed that at the time when his Majesty was in Denmark, she being accompanied with the parties before specially named, took a Cat and christened it, afterward bound to each part of that Cat, the cheefest parts of a dead man, several joints of his body, that in the night following the said Cat was conveyed into the midst of the sea by all these witches sailing in their riddles or Cues as aforesaid, so left the said Cat right before the Town of Leith in Scotland: this done, there did arise such a tempest in the Sea, as a greater has not been seen: which tempest was the cause of the perishing of a Boat or vessel coming over from the town of Brunt Island to the town of Leith, of, many Jewels and rich gifts, which should have been presented to the current Queen of Scotland, at her Majesty's coming to Leith.
Again it is confessed, that the said christened Cat was the cause that the King Majesty's Ship at his coming forth of Denmark, had a contrary wind to the rest of his Ships being in his company, which thing was most strange and true, as the King's Majesty acknowledges – Daemonologie, Newes from Scotland The concept of the Three Witches themselves may have been influenced by the Old Norse skaldic poem Darraðarljóð, in which twelve valkyries weave and choose, to be slain at the Battle of Clontarf. Shakespeare's creation of the Three Witches may have been influenced by an anti-witchcraft law passed by King James nine years a law, to stay untouched for over 130 years, his characters' "chappy fingers", "skinny lips", "beards", for example, are not found in Holinshed. Macbeth's Hillock near Brodie, between Forres and Nairn in Scotland, has long been identified as the mythical meeting place of Macbeth and the witches. Traditionally, Forres is believed to have been the home of both Macbeth. However, Samuel Taylor Coleridge proposed that the three weird sisters should be seen as ambiguous figures
The Witch (play)
The Witch is a Jacobean play, a tragicomedy written by Thomas Middleton. The play was acted by the King's Men at the Blackfriars Theatre, it is thought to have been written between 1613 and 1616. The still-extant manuscript, a small quarto-sized bundle of 48 leaves, is in the hand of Ralph Crane, the professional scribe who worked for the King's Men in this era, who prepared several texts for the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, as well as two of the surviving manuscripts of Middleton's A Game at Chess, plus other King's Men's works. Since Middleton wrote for the King's Men in this period, the Crane connection is unsurprising; the manuscript bears Middleton's dedication to Esq.. There, Middleton refers to the play as "ignorantly ill-fated." This was long taken to mean that the play failed with the audience, but modern critics allow the possibility that the play was pulled from performance for censorship or legal reasons. A 21st century adaptation is available. Two songs, "Come away, come away" and "Black spirits", occur in both The Witch and Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Middleton's play gives the full lyrics. Many scholars agree that the songs were interpolated into Macbeth during the printing of the First Folio. Middleton's primary source for material on witches was the Discovery of Witchcraft of Reginald Scot, from which the playwright drew invocations, demons' names, potion ingredients. Middleton, ignores Scot's sceptical attitude toward much witchcraft lore, mines his book for exploitable elements, he borrowed the situation of a historical Duke and Duchess of Ravenna, related in the Florentine History of Niccolò Machiavelli and in the fiction of Matteo Bandello. Witchcraft was a topical subject in the era Middleton wrote, was the subject of other works like The Witch of Edmonton and The Late Lancashire Witches. Middleton's chief witch is a 120-year-old practitioner called Hecate, her magic adheres to the Classical standard of Seneca's Medea. Middleton's Hecate has a son called Firestone, she leads a coven of four other witches, Hoppo and Puckle. The occult material in The Witch occurs in only three scenes: Act I, scene ii introduces the coven and contains abundant witchcraft exotica, to establish the macabre mood — fried rats and pickled spiders, the flesh of an "unbaptized brat," a cauldron boiling over a blue flame, "Urchins, hags, Pans, fawns...
Tritons, dwarfs, imps...", "the blood of a flittermouse," and much much more. At one point, a cat enters playing a fiddle. III,iii features the song "Come away", added to Macbeth, deals with the witches' flight through the air: at one point "A Spirit descends in the shape of a Cat," and Hecate is shown "Ascending with the Spirit." V,ii contains the song "Black spirits," inserted into Macbeth. Middleton's witches "are lecherous and perverse in the traditional demonological way, but they are funny and uncomfortably necessary to the maintenance of state power and social position by those who resort to them." Middleton's choice to set the play in Italy may reflect an element of satire against witchcraft beliefs and practices in Roman Catholic societies of his era. Duke Lord Governor Sebastian, contracted to Isabella Fernando, his friend Antonio, husband to Isabella Aberzanes, a gentleman, neither honest, nor valiant Almachildes, a fantastical gentleman Gaspero and Hermio, servants to Antonio Firestone, the clown and Hecate's son Boy Duchess Isabella, niece to the governor Francisca, Antonio's sister Amoretta, the duchess's woman Florida, a courtesan An old woman Hecate, the chief witch Five other witches, including Stadlin, Hoppo and Hellwain Malkin, a spirit like a cat Scene 1: Urbino, Italy.
His fiancee Isabella has just married the powerful aristocrat Antonio. According to the Renaissance custom of handfast, Sebastian regards Isabella as his wife in the sight of Heaven. Sebastian is distraught at the thought of Isabella consummating her marriage with Antonio that night. Antonio's courtesan Florida upset that Antonio has married another woman. Antonio's servant Gaspero assures her that Antonio will return to her after he has grown tired of his new wife. Almachildes, "a fantastical gentleman," enters and flirts with Amoretta, a lady-in-waiting, but she resists. Almachildes decides to go to "the witches" to procure a charm to make Amoretta fall in love with him; the wedding party, including the Duke, the Duchess and Isabella enter. The Duke uses it to make toasts; the Duchess conceals her disdain. In an aside, she says that she has decided upon her revenge. Scene 2: Hecate's cave Hecate, the chief witch, enters carrying serpents and an "unbaptized brat." The witches plan to boil the baby and use its fat to make a transvection ointment that enables them
Donald III of Scotland
Donald III, nicknamed "Donald the Fair" or "Donald the White", was King of Scots from 1093–1094 and 1094–1097. Donald was born in 1032, during the reign of his great-grandfather King Malcolm II, he was the second known son of Duncan. Malcolm died when Donald was a baby, at age 80, Donald's father became king. King Duncan I however, perished in 1040 when Donald was still a boy, killed by Thane Macbeth, yet another grandson of King Malcolm II, who usurped his place as king. Following his father's death, Donald went into hiding in Ireland for 17 years, for fear that he would be killed by Macbeth, his elder brother, went to England. It was during this time that Malcolm's grandfather, Crinan of Dunkeld, married to Malcolm II's daughter, was killed fighting Macbeth; when Malcolm grew to manhood, he became the new king. Donald was 25 years old at that time. Donald's activities during the reign of his elder brother Malcolm III are not recorded, it appears that he was not his brother's chosen heir, contrary to earlier custom, but that Malcolm had designated Edward, his eldest son by Margaret of Wessex, as the king to come.
If this was Malcolm's intent, his death and that of Edward on campaign in Northumbria in November 1093 confounded his plans. These deaths were followed soon afterwards by that of Queen Margaret. John of Fordun reports that Donald invaded the kingdom after Margaret's death "at the head of a numerous band", laid siege to Edinburgh with Malcolm's sons by Margaret inside. Fordun has Edgar Ætheling, concerned for his nephews' well-being, take the sons of Malcolm and Margaret to England. Andrew of Wyntoun's much simpler account has Donald banish his nephews; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records only that Donald was chosen as king and expelled the English from the court. In May 1094, Donald's nephew Duncan, son of Malcolm and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, invaded at the head of an army of Anglo-Normans and Northumbrians, aided by his half-brother Edmund and his father-in-law Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria; this invasion succeeded in placing Duncan on the throne as Duncan II, but an uprising defeated his allies and he was compelled to send away his foreign troops.
Duncan was killed on 12 November 1094 by Máel Petair, Mormaer of Mearns. The Annals of Ulster say that Duncan was killed on the orders of Edmund. Donald resumed power with Edmund as his designated heir. Donald was an elderly man by at around 62 years old, without any known sons, so that an heir was required. William of Malmesbury says that Edmund bargained "for half the kingdom", suggesting that Donald granted his nephew an appanage to rule. Edgar, eldest surviving son of Malcolm and Margaret, obtained the support of William Rufus, although other matters delayed Edgar's return on the coat-tails of an English army led by his uncle Edgar Ætheling. Donald's fate is not clear. William of Malmesbury tells us that he was "slain by the craftiness of David... and by the strength of William ". The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says of Donald that he was expelled, while the Annals of Tigernach have him blinded by his brother. John of Fordun, following the king-lists, writes that Donald was "blinded, doomed to eternal imprisonment" by Edgar.
The place of his imprisonment was said to be Rescobie, by Forfar, in Angus. The old ex-king would die at the age of 67 in prison; the sources differ as to whether Donald was first buried at Dunfermline Abbey or Dunkeld Cathedral, but agree that his remains were moved to Iona. Donald left one daughter but no sons, his daughter Bethoc married Uctred de Tyndale, Lord of Tyndale. Bethoc's daughter, married Richard Comyn, Justiciar of Lothian; the claims of John II Comyn, Lord of Badenoch to the crown in the Great Cause came from Donald through Bethóc and Hextilda. Ladhmann son of Domnall, "grandson of the King of Scots" who died in 1116, might have been a son of Donald, he may have been a son of Domnall, son of Máel Coluim who died in 1085, who may in turn have been a son of Malcolm III or of Máel Coluim mac Maíl Brigti, Mormaer of Moray. Bethoc's second husband was Radulf of Nithsdale; the minor character of Donalbain in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth represents Donald III
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales is a series of twelve half-hour animated television adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare broadcast on BBC 2 and S4C between 1992 and 1994. The series was commissioned by the Welsh language channel S4C. Production was co-ordinated by the Dave Edwards Studio in Cardiff, although the shows were animated in Moscow by Soyuzmultfilm, using a variety of animation techniques; the scripts for each episode were written by Leon Garfield, who produced truncated versions of each play. The academic consultant for the series was Professor Stanley Wells; the dialogue was recorded at the facilities of BBC Wales in Cardiff. The show was both a critical success; the first series episode "Hamlet" won two awards for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" at the 1993 Emmys, a Gold Award at the 1993 New York Festival. The second-season episode "The Winter's Tale" won the "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" at the 1996 Emmys; the episodes continue to be used in schools as teaching aids when introducing children to Shakespeare for the first time.
However, the series has been critiqued for the large number of scenes cut to make the episodes shorter in length. The series was conceived in 1989 by Christopher Grace, head of animation at S4C. Grace had worked with Soyuzmultfilm on an animated version of the Welsh folktale cycle, the Mabinogion, he turned to them again for the Shakespeare project, feeling "if we were going to animate Shakespeare in a thirty-minute format we had to go to a country that we knew creatively and artistically could deliver, and in my view, there was only one country that could do it in the style that we wanted, that came at it from a different angle, a country to whom Shakespeare is as important as it is to our own." Grace was very keen to avoid creating anything Disney-esque. This style went with comic panache. Actors were hired by Leon Garfield who had written a series of prose adaptations of Shakespeare's plays for children called Shakespeare Stories in 1985, to recite abbreviated versions of the plays written.
According to Garfield, editing the plays down to thirty minutes whilst maintaining original Shakespearean dialogue was not easy. Garfield explains, "lines that are selected have to carry the weight of narrative, that's not always easy, it meant using half a line, skipping twenty lines, finding something that would sustain the rhythm but at the same time carry on the story. The most difficult by far were the comedies. In the tragedies, you have a strong story going straight through, sustained by the protagonist. In the comedies, the structure is much more complex." Garfield compared the task of trying to rewrite the plays as half-hour pieces as akin to "painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on a postage stamp." To maintain narrative integrity, Garfield added non-Shakespearean voice-over narration to each episode, which would introduce the episode and fill in any plot points skipped over by the dialogue. The use of a narrator was employed by Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb in their own prose versions of Shakespeare's plays for children, Tales from Shakespeare, published in 1807, to which Garfield's work is compared.
However, fidelity to the original texts was paramount in the minds of the creators as the episodes sought "to educate their audience into an appreciation and love of Shakespeare, out of a conviction of Shakespeare as a cultural artifact available to all, not restricted to a narrowly defined form of performance. Screened in dozens of countries, The Animated Tales is Shakespeare as cultural educational television available to all." The dialogue was recorded at the sound studios of BBC Wales in Cardiff. During the recording, Garfield himself was present, along with literary advisor, Stanley Wells and the Russian directors. All gave input to the actors during the recording sessions; the animators took the voice recordings back to Moscow and began to animate them. At this stage, the project was overseen by Dave Edwards, who co-ordinated the Moscow animation with S4C. Edwards' job was to keep one eye on the creative aspects of the productions and one eye on the financial and practical aspects; this didn't make him popular with some of the directors, but his role was essential for the series to be completed on time and under budget.
According to Elizabeth Babakhina, executive producer of the series in Moscow, the strict rules brought into play by Edwards helped the directors. In the past, directors thought "If I make a good film, people will forgive me anything." Now they've begun to understand that they won't be forgiven if they make a great film. It has to be a great film, be on time." There was considerable media publicity prior to the initial broadcast of the first season, with Prince Charles commenting "I welcome this pioneering project which will bring Shakespeare's great wisdom and all-encompassing view of mankind to many millions from all parts of the globe, who have never been in his company before." An article in the Radio Times wrote "as a result of pre-sales alone, tens of millions of people are guaranteed to see it and Shakespeare is guaranteed for his best year since the First Folio was published in 16
Macbeth (1911 film)
Macbeth is a 1911 film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Macbeth. Like all films of the time, it is black-and-white, with English intertitles. William Barker Frank Benson as Macbeth Constance Benson as Lady Macbeth Murray Carrington Guy Rathbone Macbeth on IMDb
Macbeth (1916 film)
Macbeth is a silent, black-and-white 1916 film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Macbeth.. It was directed by John Emerson, assisted by Erich von Stroheim, produced by D. W. Griffith, with cinematography by Victor Fleming; the film starred Herbert Beerbohm Tree and Constance Collier, both famous from the stage and for playing Shakespearean parts. Although released during the first decade of feature filmmaking, it was the seventh version of Macbeth to be produced, one of eight during the silent film era, it is considered to be a lost film. In the companion book to his Hollywood television series, Kevin Brownlow states that Sir Herbert failed to understand that the production was a silent film and that speech was not needed so much as pantomime. Tree, who had performed the play numerous times on the stage, kept spouting reams of dialogue. So Emerson and Fleming removed the film and cranked an empty camera so as not to waste film when he did so. Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Macbeth Constance Collier as Lady Macbeth Wilfred Lucas as Macduff Spottiswoode Aitken as Duncan Ralph Lewis as Banquo Mary Alden as Lady Macduff Olga Grey as Lady Agnes Lawrence Noskowski as Malcolm Bessie Buskirk as Donalbain Jack Conway as Lennox Seymour Hastings as Ross Karl Formes, Jr. as the Bishop Jack Brammal as Seyton L. Tylden as First Witch Scott McKee as Second Witch Jack Leonard as Third Witch Francis Carpenter, Thema Burns and Madge Dyer as Macduff's children Raymond Wells as the Thane of Cawdor George McKenzie as the Doctor Chandler House as Fleance Monte Blue Buchanan, Judith.
"6". Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87199-0. Macbeth on IMDb allmovie/synopsis.
Macbeth (1960 American film)
Macbeth is a 1960 television film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play presented as the November 20, 1960 episode of the American anthology series Hallmark Hall of Fame. The series' second production of the play was, like the 1954 live telecast directed by George Schaefer, again starred English-born American actor Maurice Evans and Australian actress Judith Anderson; the supporting cast, was different, consisting of British actors, was filmed on location in Scotland. Filmed in color, the program was described in a contemporary publication as the "ost expensive TV show of all time, costing $1,200,000."Internationally, this version was treated as a feature film, was released theatrically in Europe. It was entered into the 11th Berlin International Film Festival; this television film won five Primetime Emmy Awards at the 13th annual award ceremony, held in 1961. Maurice Evans – Macbeth Judith Anderson – Lady Macbeth Michael Hordern – Banquo Ian Bannen – Macduff Malcolm Keen - King Duncan At the 13th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, the top show of the night was the NBC anthology Hallmark Hall of Fame for this production of Macbeth.
It won in all of its nominated categories. Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama The Program of the Year Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama 13th Primetime Emmy Awards Macbeth on IMDb