You differ from the anchorite, That solitudinarian: With vollied prayers you wound Old Nick; With dropping shots he makes him sick. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.
Explanatory notes below for Act 1, Scene 3 From Macbeth. Line numbers have been altered. The first scene brought the witches before us; the second gave us a noble picture of Macbeth. Now the two parties, the tempters and the tempted, meet, and from their meeting and the witches' prophecy proceed directly all the remaining events of the story.
The witches awaken in Macbeth the passion of ambition, which henceforth is the mainspring of his action. But we must not think that they in any way enchant Macbeth or compel him to do their evil will. After the meeting, as before, he is a free man, and can act or refrain from action as he sees fit.
This is shown, in part at least, by the fact that Banquo, although also greeted by the witches with prophecies of future honour for his house, is not led on to any crime to make good the prophecy.
There is something in Macbeth's own heart that receives and answers the greeting of the witches. This is Shakespeare's way of writing tragedy ; he makes the fate of his men and women depend upon their own characters, not upon chance or outside influences.
In the first thirty-seven lines of the scene, the witches recount to each other the evil deeds in which they have been engaged since their last meeting. It is worth noting that these deeds are petty and vulgar; but just as every good deed — even the giving of a cup of cold water, — is a blessed thing, so every evil deed — even the killing of swine — is a delight to the powers of evil.
This conversation, moreover, serves to identify the "weird sisters" of the play with the familiar witches of Elizabethan superstition. One of the commonest charges brought against supposed witches in Shakespeare's day was that they maliciously killed by pestilence, or the evil eye, the domestic animals of those they had a grudge against.
The witches lay their fingers on their lips to hush Banquo into silence. Their business is not with him, but with Macbeth; and they will not speak to Banquo until they have discharged their errand.
Witches were generally thought of as bearded women. The witches, like ghosts, will not speak until they are spoken to; but as soon as Macbeth questions them, they break out in their triple hail. The title "Thane of Glamis" was hereditary in Macbeth's family. See line  of this scene.
Macbeth starts because the witches' prophecy that he shall be king is an echo of his secret ambition. Indeed it would seem from his wife's words i. The ambiguity of the witches' address to Banquo is in marked contrast to the directness of their speeches to Macbeth.
He is to be "lesser than Macbeth" in rank, and "greater," because he will never be the slave of guilt; not so "happy," i. The prediction that he shall "get," i. According to tradition, the royal house of Stuart sprang from Banquo's son, Fleance.
Note the different way in which the sudden vanishing of the witches affects Banquo and Macbeth.THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY.
AUTHOR'S PREFACE. The Devil's Dictionary was begun in a weekly paper in , and was continued in a desultory way at long intervals until In that year a large part of it was published in covers with the title The Cynic's Word Book, a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve.
- Blaming the Supernatural for the Downfall of Macbeth This play is called Macbeth, Macbeth is written by William Shakespeare in , but the play is set in Scotlandin The main characters in Macbeth are: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, the three witches, Lady Macduff and Duncan.
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