"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15)
This line, uttered by the three ugly witches in Macbeth as they stir their boiling cauldron, is one of the most familiar phrases associated with traditional witchcraft. It is the infamous recipe for spell-casting, curse-inducing witchery. People believed in witches in Shakespeare's time, and thought of them as powerful practitioners of evil. Yet while these witches in Macbeth did possess the ability to conjure up spirits, they did not really control Macbeth but rather tricked him into acting in certain ways. Having correctly predicted he would be king, they now produce ghosts who allow him to conclude that he will not be killed by anyone. These ghosts have been called into our world by the use of the infamous recipe given above, which continues with "adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, lizard's leg and owlet's wing," and an assortment of other colorful ingredients.
Posted by The Dutchess