Macbeth - The Effect of the Witches Prophecies.

Topics: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth of Scotland Pages: 3 (870 words) Published: November 18, 2003
William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth is an unfortunate one. Although Macbeth does take the actions that lead to his downfall, he is not fully responsible for his behavior. After encountering three witches who foretell the future for him, he desperately wants to believe what they say since everything they told him is good on his part. It is said that the witches were just figments of his imagination. In either case, the prophecies told act as a vehicle to plant ambition in him which then leads him to be greedy with his new found happiness, lie to all those he trusts, and eventually to multiple murders.

Although the first and second prophecies that the witches foretell come true, they only turn Macbeth greedy. After Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is amazed with the predictions made so far. "Look how our partner's rapt." From having the first divination come true, Macbeth imagines the possibility of the other predictions to come true, but he is skeptical at first:

MACBETH: (Aside) This supernatural soliciting

Cannot be ill, cannot be good; if ill,

Why hath it given me earnest of success,

Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor:

If good, why do I yield to the that suggestion

Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair

And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,

Against the use of nature? (1.3.130-137)

Macbeth, now with ambition, is determined to make these prophecies come true for him. With the thought of being King of Scotland, the only thing in his head, he knows now that the prophecies could only be good. However, as said in the beginning of the play, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: hover through the fog and filthy air." Things that may appear harmless and pure may be destructive and tainted. Macbeth is one example. He was "too full o' the milk of human kindness" that he would never have let anything make him become what he is now. After hearing the first set of predictions, he goes to see the witches in Act 4, Scene 1, to...
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