Double, Toil And Trouble In Macbeth

1153 Words 5 Pages
The Three Witches show up throughout Macbeth and indeed do cause trouble. They prophesied about Macbeth’s ascension to Kinghood and that he could only be killed by one not born of woman. However, that is not the point of this, it is to break down and decipher what is really meant in the Witches chant in act 4 scene 1. “Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble (act 4 scene 1 lines 10-11; 20-21; 35-36).” These two lines appear twice throughout the chant, and are recognized by many. These two lines do not need much explaining, the Witches are creating a charm that is boiling with trouble. However, the first few lines are what make less sense.
“Thrice the brindled cat hath mewed. Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined. Harpier
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It can be defined as a lesser demon or a spirit animal which helps the Witch and can also help with the bewitching. So it is quite possible, this Harpier was summoned to help with their bubbling cauldron. “In the poisoned entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone days and nights has thirty-one sweltered venom sleeping got, boil thou first I’ th’ charmed pot” these next few lines are all referring to one thing. A poison dart frog or toad that has been sleeping under a cold stone for thirty-one days sweating venom. This is significant, showing that this potion was indeed potent and poisonous. This is symbolic, in the fact that indeed these three had poisoned Macbeth’s mind and through him, his wife. These two bewitched people murdered the King and that made them King and Queen. The Witches had poisoned Macbeth in a way that no antidote but death can cure. After this little excerpt, they recite the first of the “double, double, toil and trouble…” lines. The next stanza is rather self explanatory. It talks about the wool of a bat, the tongue of dog, but then it mentions a blindworms sting. …show more content…
It intertwines animals, mythical creatures, plants, and ethnic references. The scale of a dragon isn’t hard to understand when you think about the time period that Shakespeare wrote. It wasn’t long after the Medieval Age where dragon did exist, and knights would hunt them, leading to their extermination. Being creatures of magic, it is not uncommon for a Witch to have things of mythical creatures. Maw and gulf of a ravined salt-sea shark is complicated. One must first know what is a maw and gulf. A maw and gulf is defined as “voracious belly” whereas ravined is defined as “glutted” or “ravenous”. So this is a hungry shark, with a huge appetite, maybe a Great White or a Tiger shark. It is not made clear, so it is left to speculation, however it doesn’t matter what type of shark it is, for this is showing that the evil is ravenous, looking to devour any prey it can gets its jaws on. The root of hemlock is clearly alluding to the poison of the frog in the first verse. The rest of this verse of rather clear, until you get to the moons eclipse part; slips of yew is not hard to understand, but the moons eclipse is important, since eclipses were thought to be sings of evil and bad luck, thus fitting well into their chant. The dead baby, ditch delivered by a drab, is morbid and sad. A drab is defined as a “whore” or also known as a prostitute. This is significant, because it means that within their chant, they are mentioning people during that time who

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