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Sculpting the Secret, Black and Midnight Hags

Double, double toil and trouble

Sculpting the Secret, Black and Midnight Hags

Macbeth: How now, you secret, black and midnight hags (Macbeth 4.1)

How would you interpret the three 'Weird Sisters' that haunt the play Macbeth? Do you see them as haggard, old women – the traditional village witch – perhaps with literal beards and chapped fingers as Banquo describes them? Or do you see a more supernatural power at force here – akin to the Fates of Greek and Norse mythology – weaving the characters destinies? Or are the characters something more obscure – something more subtle and sinister?

These are questions that have been long asked by directors, academics, artists and audiences. Adaptations of the Weird Sisters on screen and stage have included corrupt policemen, voodoo witches, or, as in the recent production of Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre,  children.

For the Sculpting Shakespeare blog I chose to look at a sculpture from our Collections that represents the characters as what has become our typical idea of a witch: crooked nose, wicked laughter, snake-like hair and of course, a pointed hat. Well it is nearly Halloween after all!