The Play’s The Thing – Shakespearean Witchcraft

Having issues writing an incantation? Need something to spice up your next spell? Why not try a little Shakespeare?

The Bard’s weighty folio includes numerous references to witches, magic, sorcery, and all kinds of otherworldly goings-on in his plays. We’re all familiar with the good old “Double, double, toil and trouble” scene from Macbeth (Act 4, Scene 1), but there’s much more inspiration to be had.

Lady Macbeth’s Revenge Soliloquy, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5

“Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts…”

The Witches Curse A Sailor, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3

“And like a rat without a tail, I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do…”

Prospero’s Threat of Confinement, The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

“If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak
And peg thee in his knotty entrails till
Thou hast howl’d away twelve winters.”

The Exchange Between Caliban and Prospero, The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

“As wicked dew as e’er my mother brush’d
With raven’s feather from unwholesome fen…”

Prospero’s Threat of Disarming, The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

“Put thy sword up, traitor…”

Iris Appeals to the Goddess Ceres, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

“Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas
Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats and pease…”

Ceres Gives A Blessing of Abundance, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

“Earth’s increase, foison plenty,
Barns and garners never empty…”

Prospero Ends The Revels, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

“Our revels now are ended…”

Prospero Speaks of Caliban, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

“A devil, a born devil…”

Prospero Sets Spirit Hounds On Caliban’s Band, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

“Go charge, my goblins…”

Prospero Summons Nature Spirits, The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1

“Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves…”

Oberon Explains The Love-Herb, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 1

“That very time I saw (but thou couldst not)
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid, all arm’d; a certain aim he took…”

[The love-herb, incidentally, is a pansy blossom.]

Puck Heralds The Dawn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 2

“For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger…”

Helena Prays For Comfort, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 2

“O weary night, O long and tedious night…”

This is FAR from a complete listing; in fact, I’ve only gone through the three plays best known for their association with magic and witchcraft. There are lots more to go through, and even the serious plays have plenty of arguments and insults that would make great fodder for witchery.

Have a go at your own favorite Shakespearean title, and see what you come up with!

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Author: Bree NicGarran

Published Writer. Mom Friend. Pagan Blogger. Practicing Witch.

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