The sleepwalking Lady Macbeth
Image via Wikipedia

Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1603 and 1607.

Perhaps one of the most enduring lines from drama comes from the opening of Macbeth, where three witches, the ‘weird sisters,’ call out:

Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.

It almost sounds like the three witches at the opening of Shakespeare’s tragedy are describing the less admirable aspects of the 21st century–both socially and environmentally.

In a nutshell, the play goes as follows:

Urged by his wife, Macbeth kills King Duncan in Act V to become the new king of Scotland.

Shortly after, Lady Macbeth falls into a kind of madness. Her sleepwalking and attempts to wash the bloodstains – “Out damned spot!” – from her hands exemplify what later might be designated as obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Lady Macbeth suicides from overweening guilt. Macbeth, himself, leads an apparently charmed existence. He cannot be killed by one born of a woman. But he’s finally beheaded by Macduff who was “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb.

Just before his death, Macbeth’s name is described as “a hotter name than any is in hell.”

Search Think Free » Atlantis, Glamour, Madness, Obsession, Undoing

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One comment

  1. Indeed, there are so many good lines in this play. My favorite is “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” which I incorporated into my blog cartoon stip at
    It is not an often-quoted line because the one that comes after it, about the “dagger of the mind”, is so much more famous.


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