Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In act 1, scene 3, what is Macbeth's emotional state when he hears the news?

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Macbeth has been toying with the notion of becoming king by killing Duncan, as we know from Lady Macbeth's reading his lettter aloud at the beginning of scene 5. We can assess his emotions accurately from what he writes in that letter.

When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives from the King, who all hailed me "Thane of Cawdor," by which title, before, these Weird Sisters saluted me to the coming on of time with "Hail, king that shall be."

So Macbeth was experiencing a variety of emotions. He burned with desire and was rapt in wonder. No doubt he was also thrilled by the witches' predictions and then shocked and delighted when Ross

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ebettencourt | Student

What a great scene! Macbeth gets some very interesting news here. He's told by the witches that he will be Thane of Cawdor and later King of Scotland. But, his emotional state does not jump right to excitement as we might expect. He is suspicious of the witches (as he should be, for he knows, along with the people of his time, that witches could do the devil's work and were evil creatures); he is in disbelief that these predictions could be true. But the witches have made an impression and, later in the same scene, when Macbeth is informed he is indeed now Thane of Cawdor, he begins to believe the greater prediction of King could come true.