Study Guide

Macbeth Act 3, Scene 5

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Act 3, Scene 5

  • The witches again meet at an open place, this time with Hecate, the goddess of witches, who looks pretty angry.
  • Hecate lays into the weird sisters in a lengthy, rhyming speech that sounds a bit like a nursery rhyme.
  • She's super irritated that they were meddling in the affairs of Macbeth without consulting her first, as she could've done a better job. Also, she points out, Macbeth isn't devoted to them, only to himself.
  • But, fine, Hecate will clean up this mess. She tells them to all meet in the morning, when Macbeth will come to know his destiny, whatever that means.
  • Then there's a catchy witch song and dance, and everyone exits after Hecate.
  • FYI: Some literary critics believe that these scene is way too hokey to be Shakespeare's work, so it must have been added to the play some time between the time the play was first written (1606) and its publication in the first folio (1623), which was after Shakespeare's death (1616). A fellow playwright, Thomas Middleton, may have written the snazzy songs in this scene.

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