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Macbeth’s Three Witches: Three of a Kind

While we’re talking about iconic witches, the Three Witches (aka, the Weird Sisters) from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth must definitely get a mention, having one of the most memorable of lines (see below, under Quotes), the line people almost invariably associate with witches.

The Three Witches of Macbeth personify  evil, chaos and conflict, and serve as propagators of it, and as witnesses. Their existence in the play serves to communicate impending doom. In Shakespeare’s time, witches were particularly feared in the everyday world, and witch hunts occurred with all too much frequency. Their appearance in the play would have absolutely communicated the darkness looming ahead in the play.


All’s Welles with these three…

The “Double, double toil and trouble” line that everybody seems to know specifically portends the desire of the witches to compound the misery and woe on the hapless mortals around them.

They user their prophetic abilities to cunningly persuade Macbeth to seek to kill King Duncan, albeit in the manner of tempting him, versus an outright act on their parts.

They are ominous and inscrutable agents of evil, and cast a shadow across the tragedy.

Many depictions of the Three Witches have been done in other renderings of Macbeth, and their influence continues across various forms of art and in other books. Orson Welles even depicted them as Voodoo priestesses in his controversial 1948 film rendering of the play.

Wicked Three Witches Quotes

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. .”

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

For More Witches, Wicked and Otherwise

Can’t get enough of witches? Be sure to order our anthology, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales, for 30 spellbinding witch stories!