What is the “horrid image” referred to in Act I Scene 3 of Shakespeare's Macbeth?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In this aside, Macbeth is pondering the implications of the witches' prophecy that he and Banquo have just heard. These "two truths," i.e. that he will be Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland, are obviously good for him, but Macbeth seems unwilling to shake the idea that they will have evil consequences as well. The "horrid image" seems to be his recognition of what will in all probability be required to fulfill the prophecy. Macbeth resolves this conflict in a sense with his statement in another aside that "if chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir." Of course, Lady Macbeth, and ultimately her husband, are unwilling to wait for "chance," but rather choose to take fate into their own hands with the murder of Duncan.

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