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«We Three»

The Mythology of Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters

Laura Shamas

The Weird Sisters, from William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, are arguably the most famous trio of witches in English literature. Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters are a complex trinitarian mythological construction – a unique amalgamation of classical, folkloric, and socio-political elements. This book is an archetypal exploration of the Weird Sisters; by examining this feminine trio through the lens of mythology, new insights about their significance may be understood. The ramifications extend from classical comprehension to twenty-first century pop culture observations related to female trios.


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Index 127


Index A Act 1, Scene 1 Hecate in, 50–51 Weird Sisters in, 44 Act 1, Scene 3 Hecate in, 51–55 Weird Sisters in, 45–46 Act 3, Scene 5 Hecate in, 55–57 Weird Sisters in, 46–47 Act 4, Scene 1 cauldron, 57–59 curse: myth and ritual, 61–62 demonization of Sisters, 66–68 Hecate in, 57 “hell broth,” 59–60 magic circle, 60–61 ritual process, 62–64 visions, nightmares, ghosts, 64–66 Weird Sisters in, 47–50 Adelman, Janet cauldron, 58 “hell broth,” 59 Weird Sisters’ physical appearance, 54 Weird Sisters triangulations, 39–40 Ad Regis Introitum E Ionannensi Collegio Extra Portam Urbis Borealem Sito, Tres Quasi Sibyllae Sic (Ut E Sylva) Salutarunt (Gwinn), 13 Aeneid (Virgil), 77–78, 80, 89 alchemy, and number three, 95 allusions (previous Shakespearean), to Hecate, 40–41 ambivalence, towards witches, 32–33 Ammerkungen zu den Kinder-U. Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm, 88–89 The Anatomy of Melancholy (Burton), 89 Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood (Stone), 58 Andrew of Wyntoun, 9–11, 14–15 androgyny, 54, 82 anger, curses, 61 Anger, Jane, 25 Anglo-Saxon cosmology, 35–37, 42–43 animals in Act 1, Scene 1, 51 “hell broth,” 60, 112n39 signs of Satan, 66 antecedents, mythological. see mythology Apollo, 13, 84 archetypal exploration, 3–4 female threesomes. see female threesomes in myth/fairytale from goddess to witch. see goddess to witch Hecate and triple goddess. see Hecate and triple goddess Aronson, Alex on Act 4, Scene 1, 47 allusions to...

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