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Title: Representing the Demonic Image: Hecate, Weird Sisters and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Authors: Chen, Yilin
Montoneri, Bernard
Contributors: 歐洲語文學系
Keywords: Macbeth;Witches;Witchcraft;Lady Macbeth;Seneca.
Date: 2013-12
Issue Date: 2018-06-19 17:37:33 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Shakespeare’s Macbeth, written and performed in 1606, revealed a Scottish legend of three witches whose prophecy tricked Macbeth into murdering the King Duncan. The play was believed to be a compliment to the descendant of Banquo, the newly succeeded King James. Shakespeare drew on a variety of materials to create his witches, including medieval historical records, Seneca’s Medea, and Jacobean anecdotes. In Buchanan’s History of Scotland (1582) and Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587), Macbeth learned the prophecy from supernatural creatures. However, King James prohibited against the non-Christian pagan cult and regarded the prophecy as sorcery; consequently, Shakespeare turned these creatures into witches. In Macbeth, the supernatural plays an important role in pushing the action forward. Five of the seven female characters are involved with witchcraft: Hecate, three weird sisters, and Lady Macbeth. In this witchdom, Hecate situates at the top of the hierarchy as the leader, and the weird sisters and Lady Macbeth are her loyal subordinates. The portrayals of these witches, to some extent, represent the Jacobean social attitudes towards supernatural. By studying the materials Shakespeare consulted, I’d like to identify the archetypes which Hecate, weird sisters and Lady Macbeth are based on. Furthermore, I demonstrate the ways in which these characters are fashioned into the witches. After King James succeeded to the English throne, he increased penalties for the practice of witchcraft. In order to accommodate to the change in Jacobean social and political climate, Shakespeare must negotiate with the monotheistic Christian beliefs, and adapted the mysterious Scottish legend into a version in sympathy with the King’s perspective.
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Relation: Providence Forum: Language and Humanities, Vol.7, No.1, pp.137-161
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[歐洲語文學系] 期刊論文

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