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What predictions do the witches make about Macbeth and banquo?

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tiffany060 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM via iOS

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What predictions do the witches make about Macbeth and banquo?

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tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM (Answer #1)

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The Witches first hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis.  Then they hail Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor, this is their first prediction.  They have predicted that Macbeth will be named Thane of Cawdor.  When Macbeth and Banquo rendezvous with King Duncan, the prediction is fulfilled. 

The Witches also hail Macbeth as King of Scotland, they are predicting that Macbeth will succeed King Duncan.  Macbeth ultimately murders Duncan and usurps the throne. 

The Witches also claim that Banquo will father a line of kings, though Banquo will never be the King.  The prophecy of Banquo's descendants becoming the King's lineage is left unfulfilled, but his never becoming King is fulfilled when Macbeth orders Banquo and his son (Fleance) murdered. 

In Act III they give Macbeth 3 Cautions:

  1. To beware of Macduff, the Thane of Fife
  2. That he need not fear until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane
  3. That he need not fear a man of woman born. 

These are fulfilled in Act V, as Macduff takes the lead in deposing Macbeth and installing Duncan's son, Malcolm, as the rightful heir.  Macduff's forces use boughs from the trees of Birnam wood as camouflage as they approach Dunsinane, thus bringing Birnam wood to Dunsinane.  And Macduff confronts Macbeth, revealing that Macduff was born by C-section, and thus was not of woman born.  Macduff ultimately kills Macbeth. 

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