Fantasy novels and dramas invoke the magic within, daring fans to dream the impossible. Such dreams, however, were limited to men for a long time. Women had a hard time shaking hands with fantasy tropes. Humanity, however, has progressed a lot, and series like Netflix’s The Witcher portray some of the most powerful women. But they are still confined within the power domain of a male-centric society. And such a rendering of women characters immediately reminds us of Shakespeare’s absolute beauty, Macbeth.
Though it maneuvers the horrendous tragedy of King Duncan’s death, Shakespeare explores the possibilities of how a single external suggestion can trigger our psyche. It spurs us on to perform deeds that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible. The play also uses supernatural elements to represent the most shadowy, obscure, and lawless part of human nature. If through Lady Macbeth, readers get an idea of ruthlessness. The three witches Shakespeare created are very much a representation of older women devoid of prestige. Don’t you think they very much resemble some of the prominent characters of The Witcher?
Yennefer is Lady Macbeth of The Witcher world
Yennefer of Vengerberg was an obscure, deformed, poor girl whose father traded her for four marks to the world of witchers and mazes. Such was the condition of societal misogyny during medieval times. However, the abysmal defenseless girl becomes a powerful sorceress, who often wields power over men and takes control of her destiny, all but at the cost of her magical, gifted ability to have children.
We couldn’t help but remind ourselves of Lady Macbeth, often known as the fourth witch in Macbeth. She asks the spirits to unsex her so that she can be gruesome enough to fuel the murder of their king. “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here” are her words. It was believed that women would sell their souls and physical bodies to Satan in return for his assistance in employing demons to accomplish magical deeds. Lady Macbeth’s call to forces of darkness in Act 1 is reminiscent of this superstition; it is a chilling scene that shows the audience what the character is capable of while leaving Shakespeare’s motives a moot point.
Both Yennefer and lady Macbeth’s portrayals are fearsome to behold. They both are women of an agency who gets to shift the power dynamics. Both are principal female characters in a male-dominated plot, which magnifies the gravity of their actions and choices. They become representative of all women of those times and their personalities. The play becomes their court, and the gullible audience is their judge, jury, and executioner.
Voleth Meir equivalent to the Three Witches in Macbeth?
Yet another character The Witcher brought to personify the dark feminine vigor is Voleth Meir. The deathless mother is the demon who feeds on others’ pain, turmoil, and desperations. Fans with Shakespearean knowledge are likely to resemble her with the Three Weird Sisters in his tragedy, Macbeth. Like Macbeth’s preternatural witches, The Witcher’s mysterious figure is equally likely to help or hinder a story’s protagonist, committing evil deeds such as eating children and guiding lost souls to what their hearts desire. Existing since the conjunction of spheres, the monster, like the witches, desires nothing but turmoil.
Sapkowski and Lauren Hissrich’s creation of characters and monsters took inspiration from lore and narratives worldwide. And how the characters of such fantasy tropes take after the characters of numerous narratives since time immemorial is really something of great intrigue. Were you able to draw such parallels? Do let us know in the comment section below.