Macbeth Witches Names

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prhodes's profile pic

prhodes | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Of the three witches, none is ever named. Hecate (the queen of witches) appears briefly to remonstrate with them about their acting without her sanction where Macbeth is concerned. However, it is generally thought that Shakespeare did not write this scene, but that Thomas Middleton did.

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cathyluv | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Although Shakespeare does not give us the specific names of the 3 witches, he could have based their character somewhat on the 3 witches in Greek mythology, known as The Graeae (AKA the fates/ grey sisters), meaning, old women (you might be familiar with them through the movies). They are usually presented as having 3 different jobs. One who makes the thread of life, another who measures it and the other who cuts it. They are also identified through their 'eye' which allows them to look into the future.

In Greek mythology they go by the names of Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo (the names have specific meanings... you can check out the whole document in the link).

Although this might all seem like a coincidence, it was very common of Shakespeare to include hidden references for the higher class audience who would have received an education and could therefore make the possible connection. 

P.S. Hecate was not one of the 3 witches, she was a superior kind of witch, like their 'boss'.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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They were never named but they were often referred to as the Weird Sisters or Wayward Sisters. The only which that was named was Hecate! She was also known as their master.

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ladydragon | eNotes Newbie

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Hecate is the Greek goddess of the night, the moon, magic, witchcraft, etc. In Act 3 Scene 5, the three witches are on a heath and encounter Hecate (Heck' a tee). The goddess is angry that the witches have involved themselves in MacBeth's life without her participation.

While the witches do not appear to be named, they do represent evils in this world.

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panthersmusic | eNotes Newbie

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In checking thru most of the  accounts of the 3 witches..and the derivation of HECATE (hecat),My thought is since Hectate is dentoed AS a triplet of witches, ergo  it is Hecate and her two (muses) selves that are seen.  So the inital query of  'What are the names of the three witches of Macbeth?" is Misguided!.. the basis might be : Hecate is seen By MAcbeth,  the tripleness of Her being is noted.  HECATE is the only  witch  seen BY MacBeth, as yet seen by nature as trio!