What is Macbeth's attitude towards the witches in Act 4, scene i and what are the reactions of the witches to it?
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To begin with, Macbeth in this scene addresses the witches arrogantly and contemptuously orders them in the following words:
The witches however are confident of their evil prowess and answer indifferently,"A deed without a name." They then cunningly trap and mislead Macbeth to his final destruction by conjuring for his benefit the three "apparitions" which serve only to make him initially complacent but finally to burn with jealousy when he realises that he will die childless and Banquo's children will become kings, "Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls."
By the end of the scene, Macbeth's arrogance has evaporated and he is completely depressed compelling the witches to mockingly remark,
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay."
The scene reveals a kaledioscope of Macbeth's attitudes towards the witches: contemptuous arrogance to false hope and bravado to burning jealousy to final dissillusionment,
The witches on the contrary are supremely confident of their evil supernatural powers and know fully well that Macbeth is fully under their control and toy with his feelings and emotions, "Show his eyes, and grieve his heart."
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