In act IV scene 1 what effects does the image of the "bloody child" have on this scene and the play in general?
In act 4 scene 1 the Second Apparition that meets Macbeth is a bloody child. The image relates to Macduff who was prematurely born and who was supposed to behead Macbeth in the end. The apparition induces in Macbeth a false sense of security:
Be bloody, bold and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
Macbeth fails to read the equivocation and regards himself as unputdownable.
Later, when in act 5 scene 7 Macbeth sarcastically tells Macduff that his effort to kill Macbeth would be of no avail --" I bear a charmed life, which must not yield/ To one of woman born"--Macduff reveals the secret of his birth--" Macduff was from his mother's womb/ Untimely ripp'd". Macbeth now comes to realize how he has been deceived by the " juggling fiends ".