Explore Terry Pratchett’s use of humor in Wyrd Sisters. Is the book a parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth? What overall thematic effect does humor have in Pratchett’s work? How does Pratchett use humor or parody to explore modern day social or political issues?
A Humorful Twist on Classic Literature
Wyrd Sisters is a novel published in 1988 and written by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett is known for humorous and thematic effects he portrays while writing. His use of said humor and creation of parodies can be related to modern day political or social issues. Wyrd sisters can be interpreted as a parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. From societal expectations to the political issues present in modern day life, Pratchett’s use of profound words helps us relate the book to our everyday lives. Wyrd Sisters is a humorous storytelling parody where Pratchett's writing style leads to a connection to societal expectations and an easily reasonable definition of the dictatorship present in our political systems.
A Parody is defined in various ways; some definitions can be seen as complex where others can be quite straightforward. That being said, one of the simplest and easier definitions comes from The Free Dictionary which states that a parody is, “a literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author, that often presents a comic effect”. Parody is a part of daily life; it forms an essential element of the cultural and social environment. In the source, The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, the author describes the importance of parodies in society. Parodies create an easier understanding of some pieces of literature that can be hard to decipher. This particular author simply states the definition of what a parody is in a more sophisticated manner. Parodies contain references to a specific text, the passages they write imitate the style of the author of who's work they are using at the time.
Provided this definition, it is easy to point out the use of different texts in a humorous way in Pratchett’s work. Macbeth and Hamlet by William Shakespeare created the base line of his novel. The central theme of both plays, which happens also to be the main issue of Wyrd Sisters is that of the King being killed. However, both of the plays were utilized differently. Pratchett uses Macbeth more frequently then Hamlet. One of the first primary indications that Wyrd Sisters is a parody of Macbeth is the title itself. In Macbeth the three witches can be identified as the weird sisters. For example, in act 2, scene 1: (Banquo) “I dreamt last night of the three-weird sister […]”; or act 4, scene 1: (Macbeth) “Saw you the weird sisters?” (Lennox) “No, my lord.” Pratchett uses many more quotes from Macbeth to build up his story. For example, on page 65 of Wyrd Sisters the sentence “Is this a dagger I see before me?” he mumbled”. This sentence itself is the most famous soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 1 of Macbeth. Upon analyzing Pratchett’s use of Shakespeare’s work...