Macbeth
William Shakespeare
Contributed by Sharon Fleming

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Act 3 Scene 5
Summary

The goddess of the underworld, Hecate, is unimpressed with the events leading to Macbeth’s ruin. She believes that the witches have overlooked her role in the process. She summons the witches and makes a formal complaint to them regarding her position. She wishes to accelerate Macbeth’s downfall.

Analysis

Hecate is a highly vindictive female spirit. She wants to bring Macbeth’s downfall to fruition. She uses forceful language to the three witches in a manner that resembles Lady Macbeth’s speech toward her husband. While it is important to note that this scene is unnecessary to the play’s plot, and sometimes assumed to be authored by someone other than Shakespeare, it raises important questions about Macbeth’s destruction. Hecate believes that Macbeth is responsible for his downfall. She informs the witches that Macbeth “loves for his ends.” However, Macbeth is powerless to stop his downward spiral.

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