The Three Weird Sisters In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The three Weird Sisters – or, more simply, the witches – are one of the most iconic and well known features of Macbeth. Iris Theatre’s production of the play portrayed them as controlling, demonic forces, and by doing this, dilutes the original moral message of the play. The Witches portrayal is one of the most important decisions that each production of Macbeth must make for itself. As Norton Shakespeare’s introduction to the play states, “What is the nature of these strange creatures that ‘look not like th’inhabitants o’th earth,’ as Banquo observes, ‘and yet are on’t’ (1.3.39 – 40)? Actors’ responses to these questions have ranged wildly, though virtually all productions have recognized that the witches’ scenes are among the most theatrically powerful and compelling in the play whether they are made up to look grotesque or stately, perversely comic or terrifying” (840). Iris Theatre’s production certainly made the decision to make the three look grotesque – the only non-period…show more content…
As Norton states:
“Far more than any other of Shakespeare’s villains, more than the homicidal Richard III, the treacherous Claudius in Hamlet, and the cold-hearted Iago in Othello, Macbeth is fully aware of the wickedness of his deeds and is tormented by this awareness. Endowed with a clear-eyed grasp of the differences between good and evil, he chooses evil, even though the choice horrifies and sickens him” (837).
In 1.7, Macbeth exhaustively weighs the morality of his decision: “But in these cases, we still have judgment here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague th’ inventor. This even-handed justice commends th’ ingredience of our poisoned chalice to our own lips” (1.7.7 – 12). Macbeth is clearly debating his choice – he is controlled by his own conscience, not a third
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