By the time Macbeth has his second encounter with the witches in act 4, scene 1, he is in a much more desperate state than during his first encounter. In act 1, everything was going swimmingly in Macbeth's world. He was the courageous and loyal hero who had just stopped the rebel Macdonwald from usurping the throne. Everyone is impressed with his valor and Duncan makes him thane of Cawdor. When the witches prophesy that he will become king, he has the choice to take it or leave it. He doesn't need the witches: his world is quite fine.
By act 4, scene 1, Macbeth's world, however, is collapsing and his back is up against the wall. Being king, to put it mildly, is not what he expected. It has caused him nothing but stress, grief, and pain, and now Malcolm is marching into Scotland with an army to take the throne. His own troops are deserting him in scores, and he needs help badly.
Ironically, this time when he goes to the witches to seek information, they have been ordered by Hecate , the head witch,...
(The entire section contains 3 answers and 694 words.)