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April 28, 2013 / Fantelius

The First Weird Word – Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Ruins from primitive electrification

Ruins from primitive electrification


Three weird sisters/witches set the opening scene of Macbeth. They sum up their dialogue in chorus:
”Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
Translation
”Right is wrong and wrong is right
in our confusing times filled with deceit.”

Shakespeare was trying to introduce the ”wirde” (destiny) sisters of Nordic mythology. The audience had no idea what weird (or wyrde) meant, but judging from looks of the three sisters/witches (who, at the time, were men dressed as women) they adopted the word to mean something strange indeed, and ”weird” entered the English vocabulary.

Because Shakespeare could capture universal human behavior, his plays still enjoy contemporary appeal. Macbeth exemplifies greed for power. If we replace power with money, we can witness the same greed today in our confusing times filled with right-is-wrong and wrong-is-right deceit.

 

 

“Laws and rules, courts and schools
justice tied to money’s tools
power drinking greedy fuels
legal thieves, honored fools”
Dartwill Aquila

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