For a high school course in English literature, I'm reading Macbeth.

On a basic multiple choice question about Act IV, scene I, I am given the following:

The Witches threw into the cauldron

I. eye of bat and tongue of frog
II. wool of bat and tongue of dog
III. fang of snake and eagle's glare

A. I and II
B. I and III
C. II and III

Despite my best efforts, I've only been able to find references to the second choice "II. wool of bat and tongue of dog." This doesn't satisfy the question as it requires two choices.

Am I missing something obvious from the text? I can't find anything and it seems to me that this course was developed as some kind of a practical joke.

  • @Spagirl Which edition of the text are you using? Here the line before "Wool of bat" is "Eye of newt and toe of frog". Could it be that there are different versions?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 16, 2020 at 9:15
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor That would have been the 'I'm not awake enough to read properly' version....
    – Spagirl
    Jan 16, 2020 at 14:29
  • This appears just to be a flawed quiz that fell through the cracks in my class. The edition of the play that I was told to read looks the same as everyone’s else’s and doesn’t mention any of the lines I asked about. Thanks for your help! Jan 22, 2020 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


In the First Folio (see ShakespearesWords.com), which contained the first printed version of the play, the relevant lines read as follows (emphasis added):

Fillet of a Fenny Snake,
In the Cauldron boyle and bake:
Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frogge,
Wooll of Bat, and Tongue of Dogge:
Adders Forke, and Blinde-wormes Sting,
Lizards legge, and Howlets wing:
For a Charme of powrefull trouble,
Like a Hell-broth, boyle and bubble.
Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolfe,
Of the rauin'd salt Sea sharke:
Roote of Hemlocke, digg'd i'th' darke:
Liuer of Blaspheming Iew,
Gall of Goate, and Slippes of Yew,
Sliuer'd in the Moones Ecclipse:
Nose of Turke, and Tartars lips:
Finger of Birth-strangled Babe,
Ditch-deliuer'd by a Drab,
Make the Grewell thicke, and slab.
Adde thereto a Tigers Chawdron,
For th' Ingredience of our Cawdron.

The word "fang" does not appear in Macbeth; "snake" appears in the current scene and in Act III, scene 2:

We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it:

The world "glare" occurs only once in Macbeth, namely in Act III, Scene 4:

Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!

The forms "eagle" and "eagle's" do not appear in Macbeth; the plural form "eagles" does, namely in Act I, Scene 2:

As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.

As far as I can tell, there is either an error in the multiple choice question, or the authors used an edition of Macbeth that deviates significantly from the text in the First Folio.

Update: When you search "eye of bat" "tongue of frog" in Google, all you get is web pages about the test quoted in the question, sometimes with an answer key claiming that the options I and II are correct. This search did not give any results that actually quote an edition of Macbeth in which the phrase "eye of bat and tongue of frog" occurs.

As Spagirl pointed out in a comment, the version of the quiz hosted at Quizziz has a fourth answer option, "Only II", which would be the correct answer.

  • Is there any resource listing the different versions of Shakespeare plays and the differences between them? I'm sure I remember the line "eye of bat and tongue of frog" from when I studied this play (sadly I don't have that printed copy to hand any more), and in comments above Spagirl also mentioned having seen this line.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 16, 2020 at 13:53
  • @Randal'Thor All editions of Macbeth ultimately descend from the First Folio text, so I think that "eye of bat and tongue of frog" comes from an editor who took some liberty with the text. But I'll check the printed editions I own (when I get home).
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 16, 2020 at 13:57
  • 2
    This website's quiz had the question but offers a fourth answe option of 'only II', so I guess that versions with only the three options cites by the OP are imperfectly copied from som e ur-source. quizizz.com/admin/quiz/5c9aba433f0973001be68559/…
    – Spagirl
    Jan 16, 2020 at 14:34
  • 1
    @Spagirl Quizziz is one that I had not checked, but the ones I checked only had three answer options. Ur-Macbeth will be turning in his grave.
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 16, 2020 at 15:12
  • 3
    @IkWeetHetOokNiet that’s ‘oor Macbeth’! (Scottish joke, oor=our)
    – Spagirl
    Jan 16, 2020 at 21:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.