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What is the fourth vision that the witches show Macbeth?  How does it confirm...

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joels-cutie | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 15, 2009 at 8:43 AM via web

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What is the fourth vision that the witches show Macbeth?  How does it confirm Macbeth's worst fears?

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 15, 2009 at 11:14 AM (Answer #1)

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The fourth apparition is a "show of eight kings." A procession of eight men, all of whom are wearing crowns and some carrying scepters, reveals that Banquo's descendants will become kings because all of the kings resemble Banquo. The bloody ghost of Banquo follows the procession and points to the men as his offspring. The eighth man carries a "glass," or mirror, which he holds facing the men before him, suggesting that the line of kings is endless.

Macbeth had feared that Banquo's descendants would become kings just as the witches had originally prophesied for Banquo; therefore, he had ordered the murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. The murderers, however, succeed only in killing Banquo. Fleance escapes and thus Banquo's family line survives. Because Banquo's sons will be kings, where does this leave Macbeth? Does this vision mean that Macbeth will lose his throne? Seeing this line of kings, which the witches warned Macbeth he didn't want to see, frightens and disturbs Macbeth.

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