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Compare the Reactions of Macbeth and Banquo to the Witches’ Prophecies

  • Date Submitted: 03/24/2010 12:05 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.5 
  • Words: 481
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At scene three, Macbeth and Banquo both are shocked by the appearance of the witches. They greet Macbeth and inform him that he will become Thane of Cawdor and also King of Scotland. Macbeth is ‘rapt withal’ when he heard this; ‘so foul and fair a day I have not seen’-echoes with the witches. Whilst Macbeth is stunned by these prophecies, Banquo demands they inform him of his future. His reactions is opposite from Macbeth and is straight with the witches, not terrified nor begging; he reacts calmly and asks ‘how far is’t called to Forres?’ and what will happen to him. He is told that he will not be king, his offspring will be. Macbeth recovers from his ‘trance’ and insists that the witches explain they know these things, since they are frankly incredible. But the witches vanish as abruptly as they came. Macbeth was keen to hear more of this ‘strange intelligence’ that he claimed ‘stay, you imperfect speakers!’ to know how he will become the king.  
Macbeth and Banquo briefly discuss the ‘insane’ revelations they have just heard, and at that point Ross and Angus arrive to convey thanks from King Duncan. However, they discuss about the Witches prophecies like jokes mentioning ‘your children shall be kings’; but the ‘thane’ and ‘king’ still makes it seem serious. Banquo is an honest man and he shares everything with Macbeth. Macbeth does not share his thought of the witches’ prophecies which leads him to the wrong path. Ross tells Macbeth ‘in which addition, hail, most worthy thane! - for it is thine’ which means that Macbeth is now the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo are both amazed, and we begin to see Macbeth’s ambition unfolding through the asides. Banquo warns of the danger of trusting such supernatural messages as they are ‘devils’ to him, but Macbeth is lost in his own thoughts, thinking through all the implications. Banquo still could not believe the witches that ‘tis strange-and often, to win us to our harm’ and is worried about Macbeth. Eventually, he...


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