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Evil and Fascination in Macbeth.

I. Evil and Subversion

Of Macbeth, we may observe that nowhere in his plays does Shakespeare express more forcefully the darkening night of the soul under the power of a malignant force. As Robert H. West observed nearly a half century ago, 'More than any of the other plays [...] Macbeth seems pervaded by some kind of superhuman evil, an evil that shakes and pierces the thin veil of nature and twists its way into the vitals of human volition'. (1) In the opening of this deeply dark play, thunder and lightning already suggest the presence of the supernatural, (2) the threatening night of evil that will be fully displayed in Act I, scene 3. (3) Here the atmosphere that has been evoked closes in on its narrative with the exchanges between Macbeth, Banquo, and the weird sisters. The latter are soothsayers, described as hags, bearded women '[s]o wither'd and so wild in their attire, | That look not like th' inhabitants o' th' earth' (I. 3. 40-41), and later they are called upon by Macbeth as 'secret, black, and midnight hags' (IV. 1. 48). Paul Jorgensen comments on their strangeness, as 'demonic manifestations of a dark part of a supernatural world'. (4) Clothed in black, they are identified with the color associated with nighttime deeds of witchcraft, with death and the Devil. Under English law they would be subversive persons, fomenting treason and dangerous to the political order. (5) Even before the weird sisters speak their predictions regarding Macbeth and Banquo, their sinister charm, now 'wound up' (I. 3. 37), has begun to have its desired effect. (6) Macbeth appears 'rapt' (I. 3. 57), which signifies being caught up in thought, ravished, and replicated at IV. 1. 126 when he 'Stands thus amazedly'. (7) (This is directly opposed to that of which the medieval mystics spoke when they referred to being 'rauished in contemplation and loue of [thorn]e Godheed'. (8)) Thereafter, upon Banquo's request, the creatures of darkness speak their fateful prophecies before disappearing into the air. (9) It is as if, as Banquo questions, they have 'eaten on the insane root | That takes the reason prisoner' (I. 3. 84-85). In response to the 'instruments of darkness' (I. 3. 124), Macbeth's thoughts become dark, subversive, and conflicted, his envy raised to a fever pitch when he hears of Duncan's promotion of the Prince of Cumberland to be heir to the throne. His mind is in fact overcome with envy, and he is determined that 'light' must not 'see [his] black and deep desires', not even the light of the stars (I. 4. 50-51).

The force of evil, as communicated by witchcraft, is shocking, directly implicating the power of the witch, which was believed to stir malice and envy through fascination. A modern-day definition, referring to folklore belief still prevalent in southern Italy, usefully describes fascination as 'a psychic condition or impediment or inhibition, or being acted upon by a force that is as strong as it is mysterious, one that totally removes a person's autonomy as well as his capacity for decision-making and choice'. (10) The effect of this power on Macbeth appears quickly. His unspoken thoughts already are a violation of the Stuart dictum that '[i]t is Treason to imagine or intend the death of the King, Queene, or Prince', as Edward Coke remarked at the arraignment of the Gunpowder Plot perpetrators at their trial. (11) Such imaginings, 'without attempt, without endeuour', were considered to be a capital offence, long considered treason. (12) But Macbeth will proceed to author a letter to Lady Macbeth which will encourage her to believe 'fate and metaphysical aid' will have him 'crown'd withal' (I. 5. 29-30), albeit, as she recognizes, his conscience is divided on the act that must be committed to give him this reward. Anticipating Duncan's arrival, she invokes the 'raven [that] himself is hoarse' in anticipation (I. 5. 38-39). The raven, black in color, was considered a bird of ill omen, (13) like the 'Mousing owl' that killed a 'tow'ring' falcon in II. 4. 12-13--a portent of disaster following the execution of the crime.

In Act III, scene 2, the ugly creatures of the evening will have been summoned by 'black' Hecate, and 'night's black agents to their preys do rouse' (III. 2. 41, 53). More dark deeds are in the offing, deeds that show Macbeth figuratively wading in blood. His first step into blood-letting had been the deed of darkness against King Duncan, after which he emerged holding up his bloody hands, terrified at the desecration he has committed--a deed performed in the middle of an unruly night. Then Lady Macbeth had absurdly advised hand-washing to absolve him of guilt, assuming that '[a] little water clears us of this deed' (II. 2. 64), later to discover quite a different reality. 'Hell is murky', she will mutter in her sleepwalking scene (V. 1. 36). Crime leads to crimes and more crimes, atrocities as rank as the murder of Banquo and of Macduff's entire family.

Before Duncan's murder, there had been great irony in his exclamation at his arrival at Macbeth's castle when he remarked on its 'pleasant' siting, while Banquo invoked the presence there of the 'temple-haunting martlet' (I. 6. 1, 4). This beneficent bird was understood to have appeared on the coat of arms of Edward the Confessor, (14) whose benign and sainted presence (the 'sanctity' of his 'hand' is said to have cured illness by his healing 'touch' at IV. 1. 143-45) (15) will set the stage for the final act of the play. England, the land where the relics of Edward remain in his shrine, albeit denuded of its pre-Reformation splendour, in Westminster Abbey, is thus associated with health and life under the favour of sacramental kingship, as Scotland under Macbeth is connected with disease and death. It is as if sunshine will return now to shine light into the darkness of this dark play.

Darkness and night are signifiers of negation and evil, the opposite of light, which is an emanation of the Deity and associated with Wisdom, existing before all things in the Augustinian cosmogony. (16) Light is purity and truth, and, transcending all knowledge, it seeks out corruption in the corners of the kingdom. Further, since it is identified with the Word invoked by St John in the fourth Gospel, (17) it is the antidote to the play's pervasive darkness--the darkness which, as we have seen already in Act I, scenes 1 and 3, has been introduced by the weird sisters, the creatures of indefinite sexuality and dubious identity who arrive in the midst of a storm to '[h]over through the fog and filthy air' (I. 1. 12). They comment on the battle with the Norwegian invaders and introduce the idea that winning and losing, foul and fair are equal in value, a denial of Christian morality and an important theme running through the play. And they are prepared to entrap Macbeth in their snares, which only can be traced back to the Evil One, who may reside in an even darker place, but also was believed, from the authority of the Bible, to be the 'prince that ruleth in the aire', glossed in the Geneva Bible as 'Meaning Satan' (Eph. 2.1). (18)

The weird sisters' appearance in Act IV is even more ominous than in Act I, presenting them as actively engaged in black rites, stirring up a 'hell-broth' (IV. 1. 19) of the most unsavoury ingredients imaginable (19) until, with the addition of the blood of a baboon, they again have a charm wound up with which to catch Macbeth. The interlude, introducing fairy music--the song 'Black spirits'--and a dance which most accept as being an interpolation from Thomas Middleton's The Witch, (20) prefaces the first weird sister's perception of 'the pricking of [her] thumbs' as a signal to her that '[s]omething wicked this way comes' (IV. 1. 44-45). The wicked one is Macbeth, who appears to be no longer worthy of obedience as an anointed king since he is falling into the final stages of tyranny--a state so evil that now, according to the view promulgated in Scotland by George Buchanan, he may legitimately be deposed; indeed, now a condition requiring his removal from the throne. Quite contrary to King James's view of the inviolability of kingship, only by means of force, as the unnamed lord has indicated in the previous scene, will 'a swift blessing | [...] soon return to this our suffering country | Under a hand accurs'd!' (III. 6. 47-49). The extent of Macbeth's tyranny is displayed in his use of assassination, even of women and children, and of spying on his people, the latter a practice very thoroughly mastered for the Stuart regime by Robert Cecil, who had become Earl of Salisbury in 1605, the spy-master of the time who was determined to ferret out prohibited behaviour among the people as well as all threats of treason both domestic and foreign. Holinshed reports that 'Makbeth had in euerie noble mans house one slie fellow or other in fee with him, to reueale all that was said or doone within the same, by which slight he oppressed the most part of the nobles of his realme'. (21) In Shakespeare's play, Macbeth's cruelty is, we are assured, without bounds, as it is in Holinshed, who reported that the monarch took pleasure 'by putting his nobles thus to death, that his earnest thirst after bloud in this behalfe might in no wise be satisfied'. (22)

But the criminal protagonist of the play, differing from the Senecan villains in the drama of previous decades, is driven to extreme behaviour by a different motivation, by his psychologically credible fears--by behaviour that nevertheless violates his conscience and finally plunges him into utter despair, draining away all empathy and all desire even to live. But as yet, in Act iv, he still may at least attempt to believe he has a faint hope of finding a way out of his dilemma. He will conjure the weird sisters in apocalyptic terms: 'Of nature's germens tumble all together, | Even till destruction sicken; answer me | To what I ask you' (IV. 1. 59-61). However, the apparitions--the 'armed Head', the 'bloody Child', and the 'Child crowned'--which they show to Macbeth are but illusions to draw him more deeply into his villainy and closer to his end-game. Then, after their presentation of the show of Scottish kings destined to be descendants of Banquo, their dance, and disappearance into the air, Macbeth curses 'this pernicious hour' which will, he says, '[s] tand accursed in the calendar' (IV. 1. 133-34). In the very next scene, he will prove his wicked credentials against Macduff's family, including his little son who does 'not fear the net nor lime' (IV. 2. 34-35). Macbeth, through his agents, is the wicked fowler, in religious iconography interpreted as the Devil, who threatens the soul. (23)

The weird sisters represent reversal, of foul and fair, good and evil, that undermines the political system of Scotland. In their dances as in Ben Jonson's Masque of Queenes, backward movements and gestures, contrary to the normal conventions of dance, are implied: 'back to back, hip to hip, theyr handes ioyn'd, and making theyr circles backward, to the left hand, w[i]th strange phantastique motions of theyr heads, and bodyes'. (24) Light is smothered under the veil of darkness, a darkness that brings nightmares to Macbeth, but also had affected Banquo, for in the second act he betrayed his anxiety by praying, using words reflecting the Catholic compline hymn Te lucis ante terminum with its plea to be released from all terrifying 'phantoms of the night' (noctium phantasmata). (25) Banquo's prayer is not directed to God but to an order of angels, 'Merciful Powers', to '[r]estrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature | Gives way to in repose' (II. 1. 7-9). Walter Clyde Curry notes that Powers are precisely the order of angelic beings directed to 'restrain' and coerce demons. (26)

II. Damned or Bewitched

Macbeth, in spite of his attempts to resist his fierce and overwhelming evil thoughts in the earlier part of the play, now seems unable to restrain them at all. He no longer can act autonomously but is rather a puppet of evil forces to which he has given up his will. This may be viewed as the effect either of the weird sisters' gift of 'fascination', or, as some believe, of predestination, interpreted by radical Protestants as double, being predestined to either heaven or to hell by God, the choice by the deity being determined before the foundations of the world were laid. Salvation according to the doctrine of double predestination was to be effected by grace alone, not by human actions effected by the individual. Biblical authority was found in passages such as ii Timothy 1.8-9: By God's 'power [...] [he] hathe saued vs, and called vs with an holie calling, not according to our workes, but according to his owne purpose and grace, which was giuen to vs through Christ Iesus before the world was'. Predestination as sketched here was widely promoted, and only in the course of the seventeenth century would a strong Arminian reaction object to it for making God responsible for reprobation. (27) 'Supralapsarian' double predestination had been approved in the Lambeth Articles, ratified by the archbishops of Canterbury and York at Lambeth in 1595, and only failed to be authorized for the Church of England by the refusal of Queen Elizabeth to approve them. (28) In the first decade of the next century such prominent theologians as William Perkins continued to hold to the doctrine. To be sure, Martin Luther's concept of the 'bondage of the will' with his insistence on total depravity, (29) representing an even more extreme position, might seem better to apply to Macbeth's case, for he is helpless to resist the temptation to evil when spurred on by Lady Macbeth to do the deed of Duncan's murder, a deed violating his guest's rights as a sacred trust under law. A Scottish statute of 1587 stated that a person who is 'vnder the traist, assurance and power of the slayer':
[a]l sik murther and slauchter, to be committed in time cumming, [...]
the same being lauchfullie tried, and the person delated found guiltie,
be an Assise thereof, salbe treason, and the persones found culpable,
sall forefault life, landes and gudes. (30)


As Macbeth wades further and further into evil, Robert Hunter's observation is brought to mind: 'His psychomachies are scimachies, the struggles of a walking shadow'. (31) However, since Shakespeare shows no signs of having been an extreme Protestant, or indeed not very inclined to extremism all, there is, as mentioned above, a much better explanation than double predestination. This is the power of fascination, found in folklore and grounded in occult vision theory.

Fascination supplies a mechanism by which the weird sisters, whatever they in fact are, could use their occult powers for evil purposes. Simon Forman, after seeing a performance of Macbeth on 20 April 1611, called them 'women feiries or Nimphes', while Holinshed had described them as 'three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world'. (32) Based on these descriptions, the expert folklorist K. M. Briggs has said that they 'seem to have ordinary witch characteristics; but something of the weird sisters clings to them and they are even more like the supernatural hags of Scandinavian folklore'. (33) In any case, they had abilities attributed at the time to witchcraft for using occult powers to suggest treason and dark deeds to their victims. And as the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary reports, suggestion, in its obsolete sense to be sure, signifies 'prompting or incitement to evil [...] a temptation of the evil one'. (34) In Macbeth, the witches are the source of 'that suggestion' which, in Act I. 3. 134-36, already taunts Macbeth with a waking nightmare, a 'horrid image' that makes his hair stand on end and causes his 'seated heart' to pound in his chest at the unnatural thought he cannot put out of mind--a thought that leads to the terrifying mental conflict in the soliloquies of Act i. 7. 1-28 ('If it were done when 'tis done') and Act II. 1. 33-64) ('Is this a dagger I see before me'). The bloody hallucinatory dagger is an elaboration on a traditional icon of betrayal and evil, and here it also represents envy, the transgressive desire to obtain something in illegal, illicit ways. The weird sisters are 'instruments of darkness'; indeed, as William Perkins insisted, a witch is the devil's 'owne instrument'. (35) Or, in considering their apparent powers, are they to be perceived as demons masquerading as witches? (36) The play exists in a world embedded in a magical cosmos, in which powers of evil exist for the perverse purpose of corrupting men, even by appearing to foretell the future, powers which Pierre Le Loyer attributed to various subversive members of the fairy realm. (37) The world thus represented was alien, still imperfectly mapped, and uncomfortable to those who lived in it, including King James, whose Daemonologie revealed some of his inmost fears. (38) But whatever the weird sisters are in Macbeth, they are figures of ambiguity, 'imperfect' speakers who deliberately confuse 'fair' with 'foul', and 'foul' with 'fair'. And they are dangerous to those who look upon them.

Fascination, the means by which their 'suggestion' enters and controls the minds of their victims, is a visual and aural process. It is accompanied by words which direct the victim's eyes to look at the witch, whereupon eye contact allows the witch's venom to be communicated. The victim's eyes are the point of entry, the vulnerable organ for the transference of pollution to the mind. The New Testament makes oblique references to the evil eye: 'But if thine eye be wicked, then all thy bodie shalbe darke' (Matt. 6.23), and, in more detail, Mark 7.21-23:
from within, euen out of the heart of men, procede euil thoghts,
adulteries, fornications, murthers, theftes, couetousnes, wickednes,
disceite, vnclennes, a wicked eye [AV : an evil eye], backebiting,
pride, foolishnes. All these euil things come from within, and defile a
man.


In antiquity it was associated with malice, pride, and envy, bewitching and thus harming people (children are especially vulnerable) and animals, for example in Virgil's Eclogues III. 103: 'Some evil eye bewitches my tender lambs [nescio quia teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos]'. (39) It was recognized in the Malleus malefcarum, and believed to have been practised by the Scottish witches at the end of the sixteenth century. (40) Cornelius Agrippa's De occulta philosophia (Of Occult Philosophy) refers to the spirits which generate rays sent out from the eyes and, returning, enter the eyes of the beholder so as to dominate the 'breast of him that is stricken; they wound his heart and possess in turn his spirit'. (41) His view affirms a popular theory of vision that was as old as Plato, who theorized that the eye's rays were expelled and touched the objects seen by the viewer; the rays then returned to the eyes, producing 'in the soul the sensation which we call sight'. (42) 'Fascination' or, as Agrippa's seventeenth-century translator calls it, 'enchantment', is designated by Craig as 'the art of the witch'. (43)

Reginald Scot concludes his Discoverie of Witchcraft with a discussion of fascination, which, in spite of his bias against the claims of witch-finders and confessions of witches, he believes resulted from venom entering through the eyes and causing harm. (44) Scot quotes Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615), who views fascination as beginning with 'touching or breathing'; it 'is alwaies accomplished and finished by the eie, as an extermination or expulsion of the spirits through the eies, approching to the hart of the bewitched, and infecting the same &c.' He then explains: 'For the poison and disease in the eie infecteth the aire next unto it, and the same proceedeth further, carrieng with it the vapor and infection of the corrupted bloud: with the contagion whereof, the eies of the beholders are most apt to be infected'. (45) While there was, to be sure, considerable disagreement about the mechanics of sight, many other thinkers maintained the essentials of this description, which imagines a direct touching of the eyes, imagination, and memory of the thing seen. (46) In Francis Bacon's Essayes we read that envy, like love, may 'bewitch', producing violent 'Imaginations, and Suggestions; And they come easily into the Eye; especially upon the presence of the Objects; which are the Points, that conduce to Fascination, if any such Thing there be'. He notes also that 'the Scripture calleth Envy, An Evill Eye'. This process thus is an effect of 'an Ejaculation, or Irradiation of the Eye'. (47) King James, during the interrogation of the Lancashire witches in 1612, listened behind a screen in order to protect himself from the evil eye. In Macbeth, even the 'fog and filthy air' which surrounds the weird sisters and in which they '[h]over' (I. 1. 15) would also seem to be a source of serious hazard for the onlooker. The air is literally 'infected', diseased, corrupted by their presence, as Act iv, scene 1 will indicate. But for the weird sisters the condition of the air also facilitates their disappearance from the scene, however this theatrical maneuver was managed in performance, whether involving mere imagination or a smoke device.

We are assured by some early commentators on the occult and witchcraft that such 'miracles' as their ability to vanish into the 'filthy air' are but false, that their shows are like shadows, like acting in a play or, for zealous Protestants, like the allegedly empty rituals of the Roman Catholic Mass. In Act IV. 1. 69-124, the apparitions, each introduced by thunder, and the show of Stuart kings, down to the eighth (King James VI and I) who holds a mirror, 'a glass | Which shows many more' (IV. 1. 119-20), will, as Hecate had predicted, 'by the strength of their illusion' draw Macbeth 'to his confusion' (III. 5. 28-29). Indeed, 'confusion' is hardly a strong enough word to describe his psychological state. His mind is already 'full of scorpions' (III. 2. 36), a creature that is known for its fierce and poisonous bite. (48) Thus Le Loyer makes the observation that unrepentant tyrants have been 'troubled and tormented with most horrible phantosmes and imaginations, which do com into their heads both sleeping and waking.' (49)

In Act III, scene 4, Macbeth has already been vividly brought to confusion by the appearance of the spectre of Banquo (designated as the 'Ghost of Banquo', sitting 'in Macbeths place' in the stage direction in Folio text), who, after his murder, presented himself at the banquet that was supposed to be marked by order and ceremony. To the dismay of his guests, who do not see the ghost, Macbeth shouts, 'Hence, horrible shadow! | Unreal mock'ry, hence!' His wife then remarks that he has 'broke the good meeting, | With most admir'd disorder'--whereupon she asks the guests to depart: 'Stand not upon the order of your going, | But go at once' (III. 4. 105-19). The ghost, lacking an on-stage witness and thus in contrast to Hamlet's father's ghost, has no Horatio to give evidence of its presence. (50) Its mysterious appearance and its disappearance, on the basis of early writers on the occult, have plausibly if not definitively been interpreted as the sign of a spectre or demon masquerading as a ghost (51)--a phantom being that will lead Macbeth on to desire to know 'by the worst means, the worst' (III. 4. 134). In Le Loyer's view, a spectre has 'a substance hidden and concealed, which seemeth to move the fantastic body, the which it hath taken.' (52) Thus, through its demonic influence Macbeth is taken back to the weird sisters, who will bring forth the apparitions he will be shown that will predict his ultimate downfall, even, as he already has realized at III. 1. 67-68, the consignment of his immortal soul, his 'eternal jewel', to 'the common enemy of man'.

In fact, as we have seen, Macbeth's responses in meetings with the weird sisters from the beginning of the play had been strong and immediate, especially upon hearing prophecies that concerned his destiny. In Scottish tradition, words could have power when 'used with intent', as Larner observes, (53) and it seems to be the case that the weird sisters through the penetration of the evil eye and their equivocating words have placed a curse on Macbeth, an act made effective through the charms they prepared for use on him. (54) They would have had malefice in mind from the start. The forces of darkness made their entry, shown then through his curious behaviour, withdrawing his consciousness from the exterior world, removing himself into his own interiority, and closing himself away from those accompanying him. As observed above, Macbeth was 'rapt', mentally absorbed in a trance, excused as merely being lost in thought: 'my dull brain was wrought | With things forgotten' (I. 3. 142, 149-50). William Perkins had insisted that future happenings may be revealed in trances through the power of the Devil 'for the building vp of his kingdome'. (55) This was believed to involve revelation of counterfeit prophecy, designed to inflict harm rather than to communicate wisdom:
[I]n ecstasies that be from Satan, his instruments are cast into
frenzies and madnesse: so as reason in them is darkened, vnderstanding
obscured, memorie weakened, the braine distempered; yea, all the
faculties are so blemished, that many of [those thus victimized] neuer
recouer their former estate againe. (56)


Such too are the direct effects of fascination, bewitchment, enkindling his desire for the crown of Scotland. Macbeth's ambition is now a dark flame, an inferno that sheds no light, that enmeshes him in acts generated by his ambition, then in further acts of malice, which he imagines might protect him from retribution in this life if not in the life to come. But ultimately Macbeth's disease of the soul will be progressively displayed, and at last the fatal plague which has its source in him will be communicated to the entire country of Scotland before it is purged and cleansed by his defeat and death in battle. Only then will darkness and disease supposedly be banished from the realm. Providential rule is invoked in the final lines of the play, when Malcolm promises 'by the grace of Grace' to reign righteously 'in measure, time, and place' (V. 9. 38-39). However, as Shakespeare would have known from his reading of his sources, Scottish history does not exactly bear out this rosy view of eleventh-century Scotland, in which warlords and clans did not forego their violent ways. Political stability there would be an illusion up to his own day. Nor, as we have seen, was King James free of fear of the evil eye, the power of fascination, with its alleged ability to infect one with evil thoughts and desires, having the power to destabilize the state.

Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University

(1) Robert H. West, Shakespeare and the Outer Mystery (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1968), p. 69.

(2) See Leslie Thomson, 'The Meaning of Thunder and Lightning', Early Theatre, 2 (1999), 11-24 (p. 14).

(3) Citations are to The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. by G. Blakemore Evans et al., 2nd edn (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

(4) Paul Jorgensen, Our Naked Frailties: Sensational Art and Meaning in Macbeth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), p. 121.

(5) See, for example, Statutes of the Realm, 12 vols (1810-28; repr. London: Dawson's, 1963), IV.1, Elizabeth I, c.16, pp. 445-47, and the discussion in Michael Devine, 'Treasonous Catholic Magic and the 1563 Witchcraft Legislation: The English State's Response to Catholic Conjuring in the Early Years of Elizabeth's Reign', in Supernatural and Secular Power in Early Modern England, ed. by Marcus Harmes and Victoria Bladen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 67-91. Thus, while Richard Wilson's attempt to link the weird sisters to too-zealous Jesuits may perhaps be a stretch, it might merit further consideration (Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), chap. 8). Talk about the Gunpowder Plot, and about Jesuit involvement both real and imagined, was in the air at the time the play was written.

(6) On charms, see King James I, Daemonologie [with Newes from Scotland], ed. by G. B. Harrison, Bodley Head Quartos, 9 (London: John Lane, 1924), pp. 14-18, and concerning soothsayers, see The Political Works of James I Reprinted from the Edition of 1616, introd. by Charles Howard McIlwain (1918; repr. New York: Russell and Russell, 1965), p. 28.

(7) See Jorgensen, Our Naked Frailties, pp. 64-65 for useful discussion, defining 'rapt' in the sense of extra se raptus.

(8) The Cloud of Unknowing, chap. 17, as cited by Wolfgang Riehle, The Middle English Mystics, trans. by Bernard Standring (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981), pp. 94-96.

(9) On the ability of witches to disappear, see James I, Daemonologie, p. 39.

(10) Ernesto de Martino, Magic: A Theory from the South, trans. by Dorothy Louise Zinn (Chicago: Han, 2015), p. 3. See below for discussion of fascination in Part II of the present article.

(11) A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings Against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors (London, 1606), sig. D4 (r) (italics mine). This was a commonplace of authoritarian-royalist political theory.

(12) Sir John Hayward, Life and Raigne of King Henrie the Fourth (London, 1599), p. 103; see also 25 Edward 5, c.2, in Statutes of the Realm, I, 319-20.

(13) See William Perkins, A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft (Cambridge, 1608), pp. 72-73.

(14) 'Martlet' is a well-accepted emendation of the Folio's 'bartlet'. Regarding the shield of Edward the Confessor, see Kenneth Muir's note (New Arden Edition, rev. edn (London: Black, 1984), p. 34), and Caroline Spurgeon, Shakespeare's Imagination and What It Tells Us (1935; repr. Boston: Beacon Press, 1960), pp. 188-89.

(15) See Frank Barlow, 'The King's Evil', English Historical Review, 95 (1980), 8-9.

(16) For biblical authority, see, for example, Proverbs 8.22-31.

(17) For useful commentary, see David Chidester, Word and Light: Seeing, Hearing, and Religious Discourse (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), pp. 98-110.

(18) Citations to the Bible are to The Geneva Bible: A Facsimile of the 1560 Edition, introd. by Lloyd E. Berry (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969).

(19) For examples of the witches' cauldron, see Claudia Swan, Art, Science, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), fig. 60 (engraving by Jan Ziarnko), and Frederick Kiefer, Shakespeare's Visual Theater: Staging the Personifed Characters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), fig. 24 (engraving by Jacob Cats). For legislation prohibiting such practices in the first year of James's reign (I Jac. I, 4), see Statutes of the Realm, IV.2, 1028.

(20) See John P. Cutts, La musique de scene de la troupe de Shakespeare (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1959), pp. 14, 125, for music notation and commentary.

(21) Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as quoted in Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, ed. by Geoffrey Bullough, 8 vols. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957-75), VII, 499.

(22) Narrative and Dramatic Sources, VII, 500-01. For a review of differing views of historians, see David Norbrook, 'Macbeth and the Politics of Historiography', in Politics of Discourse: The Literature and History of Seventeenth-Century England, ed. by Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), pp. 87-90 and passim; and especially the detailed discussion in H. R. Trevor-Roper, George Buchanan and the Ancient Scottish Constitution, English Historical Review, suppl. 3 (London: Longmans, 1966).

(23) Cf. Coke's observation that, since the Gunpowder Plot failed and lives were saved, 'Our soule is escaped euen as a bird out of the snare of the Fowler' (True and Perfect Relation, sig. [G4.sup.v]). Cf. Psalm 124.7: 'Our soule is escaped, euen as a birde out of the snare of the foulers: the snare is broken and we are deliuered'.

(24) Ben Jonson, ed. by C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925-41), VII, 301.

(25) F. C. Kolbe, Shakespeare's Way (London: Sheed and Ward, 1930), p. 5. For translation, with Sarum plainchant setting, see The Hymnal 1982 (New Y ork: Church Hymnal Corporation, 1985), no. 44.

(26) Walter Clyde Curry, Shakespeare's Philosophical Patterns, 2nd edn (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959), p. 81.

(27) See Peter White, Predestination, Policy, and Polemic: Confict and Consensus from the Reformation to the Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). For the classic objection to double predestination, see Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. by Richard Green (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962), p. 107.

(28) Peter Lake, Moderate Puritans and the Elizabethan Church (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 201-42.

(29) See Martin Luther, On the Bondage of the Will, ed. by Philip S. Watson, Luther's Works, 33 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1957).

(30) The Lawes and Actes of Parliament, Maid be King James the First and his Successours (Edinburgh, 1597), ed. by John Skene, as quoted in Arthur Melville Clark, Murder under Trust, or, The Topical Macbeth and Other Jacobean Matters (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1981), p. 46.

(31) Robert G. Hunter, Shakespeare and the Mystery of God's Judgments (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976), p. 180.

(32) For Forman's account, see for convenience Macbeth, ed. by Muir (1984), pp. xv-xvi; and for Holinshed, Chronicles, see Bullough, Narrative and Dramatic Sources, VII, 495, who provides a marginal note referring to the historian of early Scotland, Hector Boece, quoted as saying that the three women were supposed to be the 'thre weird sisteris or wiches [...] with elrege [archaic] clothing'.

(33) K. M. Briggs, Pale Hecate's Team (New York: Humanities Press, 1962), p. 78.

(34) Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. 'suggestion', n. 1.a. (obs.), <http://www.oed.com>.

(35) Perkins, A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft, p. 61.

(36) See Pierre Le Loyer, A Treatise of Specters or Straunge Sights, Visions and Apparitions, trans. anon. (London, 1605), p. 17, and the discussion in Jorgensen, Our Naked Frailties, esp. pp. 121-22.

(37) Le Loyer, A Treatise of Specters, pp. 17, 19.

(38) See discussion in Stuart Clark, 'King James's Daemonologie: Witchcraft and Kingship', in The Damned Art: Essays in the Literature of Witchcraft, ed. by Sydney Anglo (1977; repr. London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 156-81.

(39) Virgil, [Works], ed. and trans. by Rushton Fairclough, rev. edn, 2 vols (London: Heinemann, 1935), I, 26-27, cited, along with other examples, by Peter Walcot, Envy and the Greeks: A Study of Human Behaviour (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1978), pp. 77-90.

(40) [Henricus Institoris and Jacobus Sprenger], The Hammer of Witches: A Complete Translation of the Malleus Malefcarum, trans. by Christopher S. Mackay (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 113 and passim; Christina Larner, Enemies of God: The Witch-Hunt in Scotland (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 97.

(41) Hardin Craig, The Enchanted Glass (New York: Oxford University Press, 1936), pp. 43-44, explaining the view of Cornelius Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, trans. by J. F. (London, 1651), book I.

(42) Plato, Timaeus, trans. by H. D. P. Lee (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965), pp. 61-62.

(43) Craig, The Enchanted Glass, p. 44.

(44) Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, introd. by Hugh Ross Williamson (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1964), pp. 398-400.

(45) Scot, Discoverie, pp. 398-400.

(46) I have been alert to this mechanism (technically known as extramission) in my contributions to Iconoclasm vs. Art and Drama, ed. by Clifford Davidson and Ann Eljenholm Nicholas (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1989); and see the chapter on 'The York Plays and Visual Piety', in my Corpus Christi Plays at Y ork: A Context for Religious Drama (New York: AMS Press, 2013), pp. 37-40. When the rays from one's eye touch a polluted object, its pollution was believed to be communicated to the viewer.

(47) Francis Bacon, The Essayes or Counsels Civill and Morall, ed. by Michael Kiernan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), p. 27 (Essay 9). Fascination is also discussed in Bacon's Advancement of Learning, II. 11. 3.

(48) Arthur Henkel and Albrecht Schone, Emblemata: Handbuch zur Sinnbiltkunst des XVI. und XVII. Jahrhunderts (1967; repr. Stuttgart and Weimar: Metzler, 1996), cols 903-09.

(49) Le Loyer Treatise of Specters, p. 112.

(50) See, for example, Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

(51) See Curry, Shakespeare's Philosophical Patterns, pp. 84-85.

(52) Le Loyer, Treatise of Specters, sig. [B1.sup.r].

(53) Larner, Enemies of God, pp. 139-40.

(54) For related discussion, see Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Scribner's, 1971), pp. 509-12 and passim.

(55) Perkins, A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft, p. 124; errors in spelling have been silently corrected.

(56) Perkins, Discourse, p. 125.
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