In the opening scene of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one of the three witches who want to meet Macbeth suddenly announces, “I’m coming, Graymalkin.” The witch responds to the summoning of her familiar or guardian spirit, embodied in the form of a cat.
A cat named Grimalkin in William Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth helped the three witches see Macbeth’s future.
Graymalkin and Paddock are the names of two of the witch’s familiars, the third does not say her familiar’s name until Act IV, Scene 1, where the readers find out that she is a harper. In this scene, the third witch only says that she (anon) will come when the others are called by her familiars.
What are Graymalkin and Paddock? Graymalkin is a cat and Paddock is a toad.
According to folklore, witches were believed to have devil spirits or familiars as companions that took the form of animals. The first is a cat, the second a hedgehog (or hedgehog pig), and the third a harpy eagle (“harpier”), a monster from Greek mythology with a woman’s face and the body of a bird.
Shakespeare’s Graymalkin literally means “grey cat“. The gray is of course the colour; The Malkin was a nickname for Matilda or Maud, used in the dialect as a common name for a cat – and sometimes a rabbit – and also for a messy woman.
When we first see them, the witches in Macbeth refer to their animal familiars Graymalkin (a cat) and a paddock (toad).
During the Renaissance, it was believed that Satan sent evil spirits to help witches carry out their evil deeds. These “familiars” or “goblins” would appear in animal form. The First Witch’s familiar is in the form of a cat (Graymalkin) and the Second Witch’s familiar is in the form of a toad (Paddock)..
” – “Anon” means “immediately” and the phrase is equivalent to “I’m coming, I’m coming”. His words are addressed backstage to Macduff, who imagines himself on the other side of the gate.
familiar, in Western demonology, a small animal or goblin kept as a witch’s servant, given to her by the devil, or inherited from another witch. The familiar was a low-level demon that took on any animal form, such as a toad, dog, insect, or black cat.
Confusion: riot, riot. “When the hustle and bustle is over, when the battle is lost and won.” Second Witch 1.1.3. When this chaos of war is over and we know who won and who lost.
ii line 1), in Macbeth “blood” is a symbol throughout, blood representing the guilt Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel but also the brutality of the murder. Also, Duncan becomes ‘Bloody Man’ and it may herald his eventual death.
Double, double, toil and trouble (4.1.10-11)
These lines are two of the most famous in all of Shakespeare’s works. Interestingly, the songs of the Weird Sisters are not written in Shakespeare’s primary time, iambic pentameter, but in a fast time called trochaic tetrameter.
Lady Macbeth is sometimes referred to as “The Fourth Witch” of the drama. For Goethe she is “The Super Witch”. Indeed, Lady Macbeth’s dominant role in the assassination of Duncan, her cruel and witch-like approach to the horrific act is simply astounding.
1. brindle – with a gray or brown stripe or pattern or blotchy colouring; especially used for the patterned fur of cats. brindle, brindle, mackerel. patterned – with patterns (especially colorful patterns)
A fenny snake was a species of snake in the magical world of unknown nature. They were mentioned in the song “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and are used in the potion ingredient Filet of a Fenny Snake.