Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Ian Jedlica: The Story of the Role and Fate of Hecate and the Three Witches in Macbeth


DOI 10.51313/Freeside-2020-2-5


The Three Witches, or “Wayward Sisters” are an essential and well-known part of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, though since its first performance, their role and impact within the play has changed depending on the thoughts, norms and needs of the day. This paper aims to give a glimpse into their origins and story through time, including that of Hecate, the fourth and yet most powerful of the witches and her “fate” within the play, her rise and decline, and some of the many transformations of the witches through adaptations and later rewrites, which include all-singing, all-dancing comedic turns, dominance, or partial absence within the play. Overall, although Hecate has often been cut from performances, the Three Witches have provided, for the most part, an important “mysterious mystical backdrop” in the story of Macbeth and the main character’s inner turmoil.



Hecate, Macbeth, Shakespeare, weird sisters, three witches, Middleton

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ISSN 1786-7967

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