William Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth ' Essay
1. What are Macbeth’s phases of reaction to the prophecies?
The witches prophecy is arguably the most important component in the entire play; not only do they foreshadow the events to come, they also motivate Macbeth to go further and further to accomplish his final goal of absolute power. Upon hearing that he is thane of Glamis and shall become the thane of Cawdor and the future King, Macbeth is surprised as he is merely thane of Glamis. Banquo describes his reaction in the following lines ”Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair?” (1.3.51-52).
However in the following scene Ross and Angus relay the Kings gratitude towards Macbeth for his bravery in battle; Ross then tells Macbeth that he is officially thane of Cawdor. Upon hearing this, Macbeth is astonished that the witches’ prophecy came true and is convinced that he will also become the King through the lines “(aside) Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme.” (1.3.130-132).
This event convinces Macbeth that he is destined to become the King without having to do anything at all “(to himself) If fate wants me to be king, perhaps fate will just make it happen and I won’t have to do anything..” Nonetheless Lady Macbeth believes that he will need to take further steps and she is worried that he does not have what it takes to seize the crown as described in the following lines “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised.…