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Macbeth's Reaction To Three Prophecies

Uploaded by RyanPeakesGirl on Jul 06, 2006

Summarize the three prophecies that the apparitions give Macbeth. How does he react to them? What does this reveal about Macbeth’s state of mind? How does he react to the show of eight kings?

Once Macbeth “conjures” the witches, he demands them to answer his questions, but when the witches appear his way of addressing them is uncompromising. Macbeth’s defiant act is to hear the prophecy of his future not from the Witches but from their masters, but as soon as Hecate (head witch) appears she disappears again and allows the three weird sisters to show him the prophecies.
The first apparition simply warns Macbeth about Macduff, but the second apparition appears and tells Macbeth that he should not worry except from a man which is not of woman born. The third apparition tells him that nothing will happen unless a forest from England comes to a Scottish forest. Then finally they all show him a line of eight kings and at the end was Banquo holding a glass of wine.
Macbeth’s demand is answered by a sequence of apparitions. In this case it is definite that these apparitions are conjured up by the witches and not from Macbeth’s mind. As the apparitions appear, Macbeth appears to be extremely confident, and abrupt with his replies. It seems as there is little fear or respect, for example during the second apparition’s “Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth” he replies with “Had I three ears, I’d hear thee”, simply displays an ironic arrogance.
Apart from the first, all the apparitions, excluding the final one of a procession of future kings include children. The images of these children which are combined with images of death, warfare, and blood are dramatic and terrifying, but especially for Macbeth, since Macbeth does not have an offspring and thus no heir for the throne. In this case for a man such as Macbeth which does not have children the image of children could only fill him with hatred.
Since Macbeth considered the second and third prophecy impossible, Macbeth asks to see his future and is shocked to see that the future procession of kings are all the children of Fleance, at this point he realises that the future line of kings is without any trace of Macbeth or Macbeth’s children. The Witches confirm the inevitability of what Macbeth has seen: “Ay sir, all this is...

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Uploaded by:   RyanPeakesGirl

Date:   07/06/2006

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   2 pages (449 words)

Views:   6427

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