Hamlet by William Shakespeare: The Three Weird Sisters

1189 WordsJul 16, 20185 Pages
As in Wagner’s Ring, ancient pagan cultures often depicted the three mythological Norns, with their transcendent knowledge, as representatives of “holy things”: nature in its most serene and sublime form (Vorspiel). In Christian interpretation, however, because of the theist’s aversion to knowledge as a progenitor of sinful ambition, the Norns are affiliates of Satan. Indeed, both Genesis 3 and Macbeth are allegorical representations of man’s downfall as a result of the loss of innocence. In Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates that knowledge inspires reckless ambition, which, in humanity’s fallibility, is bound to suppress morality in favour of selfish desire. Firstly, the characters of the three Weird Sisters are symbolic of Satan, using…show more content…
In the development of the plot, Lady Macbeth finds her rationalism, removed of “all natural instincts and sensibilities of her sex”, to be in conflict with her conscience (Rolfe 31). For instance, she speaks of ineradicable blood in her sleep, evidence of a deeply disturbed morality. What is depicted here is the belief that morality is indelible, and its limitations on pure rationalism inevitable; knowledge encourages man to suppress morality, resulting in intrapersonal conflict. Finally, Lady Macbeth commits suicide “by self and violent hands.” (V, ix, 42). Earlier, she is seen muttering about her husband’s homicidal acts, whereupon the doctor diagnoses her as suicidal, and it is evident that her knowledge of Macbeth’s deeds is causing great distress. Shakespeare demonstrates that ignorance is often preferable to knowing because man is innately psychologically weak whilst ambition is oblivious to the inner damage it may cause. Initially a singularly evil character, Shakespeare ultimately depicts Lady Macbeth as sympathetic through the use of pathos. If the Sisters are Satan and Lady Macbeth Eve, then Macbeth is most definitely Adam, predestined to have a fruitless kingship. To begin with, Macbeth is shown to be a sympathetic but foolish character. For instance, when told the prophecy, he fails to realise that his kingship is to be without
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