Posts Tagged: witches

Strange Shakespeare: Macbeth and the even weirder sisters

Shakespeare’s witches haven’t always terrified audiences. For a century and more – from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries – actors played these parts for laughs. During the period in which Shakespeare became “the Bard”, the witches in fact brought a large dose of comedy to Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy. The origins of this surprising, but long-lasting, stage interpretation go back to 1664.




A manual for witch-hunters

Worried about encountering witches like Macbeth this All Hallows Eve? Turn to a witch-hunting manual such as the Malleus Maleficarum! This famous book, known as “The Hammer of Witches” in English, was written in the 15th century by a pair of inquisitors for the Catholic Church. The text was originally published in Latin, as many… Continue Reading »


Illustrating Shakespeare: Three witches on the heath

Folger Finds delivers delightful and insightful moments with the Folger collection. Sarah Hovde, a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shows us some surprise artwork in a 1910 edition of Macbeth. When cataloging a rare book, librarians try to balance describing the things that are identical to every copy of that book (like the publisher, the number of… Continue Reading »