three witches, Macbeth

Three Witches’ Predictions Uncover The Contrast Between Macbeth And Banquo

Dramatic Diction Home William Shakespeare
three witches, Macbeth
Macbeth, three witches

Macbeth is a piece of art that identifies the depth of Shakespeare’s imaginative power that excels all boundaries to draw the best artistry in literature. The presence of three witches is the best example of that artistry. Yet many people still toil hard to uncover even a small amount of Shakespeare’s mature style that makes Macbeth the wonderful evidence of rich imagery. 

Macbeth is, no doubt, rich and varied, and highly imaginative than that of any other single play. Shakespearean scholars, critics, and researchers worldwide have a variety of sketchy details about this unique invention of words by William Shakespeare. A big chunk of the audience and readers usually depend on those theories.

However, they come across some common questions at the beginning of the play. For instance, 

a) Whom did Macbeth meet while returning from great battle?

b) What were the predictions made in favor of Macbeth?

c) How did Banquo take those predictions?

Now, answers to these questions help people understand the mood for the said play’s main action. Moreover, these questions uncover the necessity of an opening scene’s magic touch.

The first question:

Whom did Macbeth meet while returning from great battle?

In Act-I, Scene-I, in Macbeth, Shakespeare portrayed three witches in a desolate place in stormy weather. These disheveled creatures became visible in wild attire. They met together in the rain, thunder, and lightning. The interaction between them took place somewhat in cryptic language involving questions and answers as if they tried to convey some vital information.

Their presence and interaction revealed a vague report of a battle brewing somewhere and a future meeting. It appears that they were invested in a specific mystery. Their cryptic language indicated their plan to meet victorious Macbeth, one of King Duncan’s generals, on his way home from the battle.

Importantly, Duncan was the King of Scotland in the play “Macbeth” or “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” His army, which involved brave generals like Macbeth and Banquo, fought against the alliance of the rebel Macdonwald and the King of Norway.

Now, in Scene-iii, the three witches appeared waiting for the brave Scottish general Macbeth, and as soon as the general arrived with Banquo, the disheveled creatures greeted him with some titles.

The witches greeted Macbeth as the Thane of Glamis (the present title of the Scottish general), Thane of Cawdor, and the “king hereafter.” Interestingly, apart from Macbeth, Banquo (the Thane of Lochaber) and a general in King Duncan’s army, was the only person who also met the three witches. That means Macbeth, along with Banquo, met three witches while returning from the great battle.

The interesting part is these wild creatures not only greeted Macbeth with some titles but also made big predictions. The million-dollar question is whether the predictions were actually in favor of Macbeth. And the answer is yes as if these were Macbeth-witches predictions. 

However, there lies another important question-

What were the predictions made in favor of Macbeth?

The first prediction made by the witches was Macbeth would be the king. But, in their second prediction, the weird creatures foretold that Banquo’s descendants would also be kings.

Soon after making these prophecies, the creatures disappeared. Many of the critics opine that they melt into the air almost as soon as they appear.

It is unquestionably true that these Macbeth-witches predictions are no more than prophecies. And, it excites people’s curiosity and wonders for the next happenings. Inventing the most prominent characters that favor the play’s mood and the atmosphere is the key trait of Shakespeare’s pioneering artistry. The famous English playwright always excels in his creativity.

The importance of the witches’ predictions in Macbeth

The witches’ appearance may not have a direct presence in the course of the play’s whole action, but they have an important contribution in converting the action into reality. Their mystic suggestion in the form of prophecies represents the very spirit lurking in Macbeth. Their prophecies help to uncover the evil shadows of Macbeth’s mind as a prediction in Macbeth.

It is undeniable that the evil prediction in Macbeth regarding his intention of becoming the king, can’t see the daylight without the existence of the witches’ predictions.

Now, the discussion about prediction doesn’t end here. Because another question is lurking behind the curtain. That is-

How did Banquo take those predictions?

As already discussed, Banquo was a brave Scottish general like Macbeth. His honesty, along with bravery, unveils his conscience. After witnessing the three witches and their predictions, Banquo uttered that getting the title “Thane of Cawdor” was a matter of high distinction that Macbeth was yet to obtain. He also opined that greeting him as the Future King must be a distant hope in the present situation. However, the greed to claim the throne forced Macbeth to think differently. His inner motive limited his power of conscience and forced him to think the possible ways to fulfill his evil dream. His thought regarding this evil dream appeared as the Macbeth predictions.

As a sensible, honest human, Banquo was not moved by the three witches’ prophetic words. He remained conscious that humans could easily be tempted into wrongdoings by such predictions or prophecies. He asked the witches that if they acquired such deep insight or vision into the womb of the future, why they abstain from prophesying something about their future. The best part of Banquo’scharacter was he never feared the weird creatures’ anger nor asked for any favor.

Banquo’s greeting with the witches and his queries show how he admired his daring, undaunted spirit, and wisdom. His discretion of honesty and reality exercised a sobering influence on valor.

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