In Act 5, how are the witches three prophecies revealed in Macbeth?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Weird Sisters (also referred to as witches) make their final appearance in Macbeth in Act IV, Scene 1. In this scene, the Weird Sisters show Macbeth three apparitions that predict his future. The first apparition warns Macbeth to be afraid of Macduff. The second apparition tells Macbeth not to fear any man born of a woman because they cannot harm him. The third apparition says that Macbeth should not worry until Birnam Wood marches to fight him at Dunsinane Hill. These apparitions provide Macbeth with a false sense of security, and he becomes overconfident in his ability to defend his kingship.

In Act V, the predictions of all three apparitions come true. Malcolm's army disguises themselves using branches from Birnam forest. As they approach Macbeth's stronghold, it appears like the Birnam Wood is marching towards Dunsinane Hill. Macduff then confronts Macbeth and mentions that he was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb, which means he had a Cesarean birth. Macduff then kills Macbeth in a sword fight, meaning the third prediction comes true, too.

amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act IV, Scene 1, the witches summon three apparitions. The first apparition tells Macbeth to beware Macduff. The second apparition tells Macbeth that “none of woman born” shall harm him. The third apparition tells him:

Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until

Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill

Shall come against him (4.1.92-94).

In Act V, Scene 4, Malcolm orders every soldier to cut down a branch from Birnam Wood to act as camouflage. In Act V, Scene 5, a messenger reports to Macbeth that he thought he saw the Birnam wood begin to move. He saw the troops, draped in branches moving toward Dunsinane. The third prophecy is confirmed. In Scene 8, Macduff challenges Macbeth. The first prophecy is confirmed. Macduff then reveals that he was “untimely” ripped from his mother’s womb. He was born by Caesarean-section. Finally, on a verbal technicality, the second prophecy is confirmed when Macbeth is killed by Macduff.  

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Macbeth

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