Homework Help

What is the first prophecy that the witches tell Macbeth?Im doing an essay on macbeth...

user profile pic

r-ach17 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 10, 2010 at 1:03 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the first prophecy that the witches tell Macbeth?

Im doing an essay on macbeth and in the essay plan it says i must include in paragraphy 2 the witches influence on macbeth.

1. the first prophecy and its effect on macbeth :- "our partner's rapt". its clear that the witches have targeted macbeth, rather then banquo...

i dont really understand it ... Helppp pleeaassee :)

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 10, 2010 at 1:36 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

"Hail to thee Thane of Cawdor" may sound like a prophesy to Macbeth, but it is not one; it is a hook meant to snare him... and it does. Although Banquo and Macbeth don't know it yet, because they are returning from fighting a war, Macbeth has already been given his new title by the King. The first real "prophesy," then, is  "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!"

After Macbeth hears this and the witches disappear, Ross and Angus come onto the scene, and Ross informs Macbeth thet he is the new Thane of Cawdor. Banquo says, "What, can the devil speak true?" He and Macbeth are now sure that the witches know the future. A stunned Macbeth goes off by himself. His look of distraction at that point is what prompts Banquo to say to Ross and Angus: "Look, how our partner's rapt." Indeed, Macbeth's mind is now full of "horrible imaginings."

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 10, 2010 at 1:16 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I am not sure why you include the quote about "our partner's rapt" here when it is not spoken until much later.  If you want to contact me to explain, go ahead.

The first prophecy or set of prophecies about Macbeth says two things about him.  The witches say he will become the Thane of Cawdor.  And they say he will become king.  They also tell Banquo that his sons will be kings, though he will not.

The effect on Macbeth is that it makes him more ambitious, especially in the next scene when he finds out that he has been made Thane of Cawdor.

But I still don't understand your reference to "our partner's rapt..."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes