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In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the witches play two important roles. Firstly, they add a supernatural element to the play introducing the idea of deception as a key plot device. And the witches play a role in bringing Macbeth's ambition to the fore. Their prophecies open Macbeth's eyes to the possibility that he can take the throne for himself.
Macbeth is often believed to be a cursed play, with actors reluctant to even speak its name in a theatre (it is usually referred to as “The Scottish play”). It was believed that Shakespeare drew on actual witches’ incantations when writing the play, although there is no historical evidence for this. The story continues that some practicing witches saw the play and took great offense at this misuse of their sacred craft, and placed a curse upon any who might perform Macbeth.
These lines begin Act IV in the play and the three witches utter their famous lines - lines which serve to remind us that their speech is full of double meanings and contradictions.
In this setting the text is slightly abridged - much of the third witch’s speech is omitted, and the distinction between the three separate characters is largely ignored.
Double, Double Toil and Trouble was written for Nota Bella (Westlake Girls High School) and conductor Helen Acheson.
for Nota Bella (Westlake Girls High School) and conductor Helen Acheson
Text from Macbeth by Shakespeare