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William Shakespeare’s The Three Witches and Macbeth: suitable for Halloween

Considered to be cursed or haunted

  • The Three Witches
  • Double, double toil and trouble;
  • Fire burn and caldron bubble.
  • Fillet of a fenny snake,
  • In the caldron 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 caldron bubble.
  • Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
  • Then the charm is firm and good.
  • Macbeth’s vision
  • Is this a dagger which I see before me,
  • The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch  thee.
  • I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
  • Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
  • To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
  • A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
  • Proceeding from the  heat-oppressed brain?
  • I see thee yet, in form as palpable
  • As this which now I draw.
  • Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going;
  • And such an instrument I was to use.
  • Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses,
  • Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
  • And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
  • Which was not so before. There’s no such thing:
  • It is the bloody business which informs
  • Thus to mine eyes.  Now o’er the one halfworld
  • Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
  • The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
  • Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,
  • Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
  • Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
  • With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
  • Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
  • Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
  • Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
  • And take the present horror from the time,
  • Which now suits with it.  Whiles I threat, he lives:
  • Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote Macbeth in 1606, and it is considered by many to be his most accomplished piece of drama. The Bard of Avon based much of the occult detail in the play on the Daemonologie by King James IV of Scotland (later, King James I of England) and the historical detail on Holinshed’s Chronicles, a popular history of Britain during the poet’s day. Besides the ubiquitous presence of blood, the occult and ghosts, Macbeth is also a suitable Halloween read because it is considered to be cursed or haunted. Legend has it that those involved in the play’s production — actors, stage managers, directors, etc. — will inevitably experience an uncanny string of bad luck. To this day, it is time-honored tradition among actors to avoid speaking the name of the play while it is in production and instead to refer to it as “The Scottish Play.”

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  • The Three Witches
  • Double, double toil and trouble;
  • Fire burn and caldron bubble.
  • Fillet of a fenny snake,
  • In the caldron 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 caldron bubble.
  • Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
  • Then the charm is firm and good.
  • Macbeth’s vision
  • Is this a dagger which I see before me,
  • The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch  thee.
  • I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
  • Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
  • To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
  • A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
  • Proceeding from the  heat-oppressed brain?
  • I see thee yet, in form as palpable
  • As this which now I draw.
  • Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going;
  • And such an instrument I was to use.
  • Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses,
  • Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
  • And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
  • Which was not so before. There’s no such thing:
  • It is the bloody business which informs
  • Thus to mine eyes.  Now o’er the one halfworld
  • Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
  • The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
  • Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,
  • Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
  • Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
  • With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
  • Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
  • Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
  • Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
  • And take the present horror from the time,
  • Which now suits with it.  Whiles I threat, he lives:
  • Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote Macbeth in 1606, and it is considered by many to be his most accomplished piece of drama. The Bard of Avon based much of the occult detail in the play on the Daemonologie by King James IV of Scotland (later, King James I of England) and the historical detail on Holinshed’s Chronicles, a popular history of Britain during the poet’s day. Besides the ubiquitous presence of blood, the occult and ghosts, Macbeth is also a suitable Halloween read because it is considered to be cursed or haunted. Legend has it that those involved in the play’s production — actors, stage managers, directors, etc. — will inevitably experience an uncanny string of bad luck. To this day, it is time-honored tradition among actors to avoid speaking the name of the play while it is in production and instead to refer to it as “The Scottish Play.”

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