By Laura Shamas

The unusual Sisters, from William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, are arguably the main well-known trio of witches in English literature. Shakespeare’s bizarre Sisters are a fancy trinitarian mythological development – a special amalgamation of classical, folkloric, and socio-political components. This publication is an archetypal exploration of the bizarre Sisters; by way of studying this female trio during the lens of mythology, new insights approximately their importance could be understood. The ramifications expand from classical comprehension to twenty-first century popular culture observations regarding girl trios.

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Pale 77-78). King James I James I ruled England from 1603-1625. Macbeth was most likely commissioned from The King’s Men in honor of King Christian of Denmark’s summer 1606 visit to the Stuart Court (Kernan 75-76). The play was created to honor King James, to reflect his political stances, and to further “the Stuart Myth, a ‘mystical and legitimist version of Scottish history’ ” (Norbrook qtd. in Kernan 77). “This commission must have given Shakespeare some considerable thought. qxd 27/10/2006 13:57 Page 19 From Goddess To Witch 19 entertainment of the newly-appointed Italian ambassador” (Huggett 139-140).

Afterwards, the king “in effect launched the witch craze there, a persecution that eventually took the lives of over a thousand persons, about 85 percent of them women” (Barstow 174). In 1596/1597, King James presented his anti-witchcraft views formally in his treatise Daemonologie, first published in Edinburgh, and later again in London in 1603 (Kernan 84). It was, from a socio-political-religious context, in dialogue with the older German document Malleus Maleficarum [“The Hammer of Witches/Witchcraft”].

Together with the legal profession and the physicians, the church sought to exclude women from medicine to curtail their freedom of movement in society and their access to power and prestige a craft or profession would give. Male physicians were greedy for women’s skills and the money to be earned from them. They sought to exclude women from the mainstream of life. qxd 27/10/2006 13:57 Page 27 From Goddess To Witch 27 Shafer writes that Middleton’s play The Witch “offers almost a survey of possible roles available to women—wife, bride, unmarried mother, prostitute, witch—and all except Florida and Hecate are fighting to keep their reputations intact”(xxi).

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