Explain how the witches' prophecies were fulfilled? Act 5

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The first prophecy of the witches in Macbeth by William Shakespeare is fulfilled by the advance of the army in camouflage. Just before this, Macbeth leaves, calling for his armour. The Doctor starts contemplating desertion. Malcolm's army moves forward, screened with branches from Birnam Wood (important).

Macbeth: I will not be afraid of death and bane

Til Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.

Which it does as the wood is seen to "move."

Then in the battle with Macduff, Macbeth realises with horror that his opponent wasn't "born of woman" in the normal way and with these words shows us he has realised the fruition of the witches' prophecy: "thou opposed being of no woman born."

He then vows to fight on rather than suffer the humiliation of being taken into custody.

nightenbelle's profile pic

nightenbelle | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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The witches make a couple of prophecies. The first is that None shall defeat Macbeth until Dunsenane woods moves. The second is that none born of woman shall kill MacBeth. The final is that Banquo's children shall rule after MacBeth.

1st- When MacDuff leads the armies against MacBeth, they hide in Dunsenane wood and cut trees to disguise their numbers. they then carry these trees in front of them as they march- giving the impression that the woods are moving.

2nd- When MacDuff battles MacBeth we find out that MacDuff was not actually born in the manner typical. MacDuff was "torn" from his mother's womb- in the form of a crude C-section. So he was not actually "born" of woman.

3rd- we don't actually see this one come to pass, but Elizabethan audiences would have known that King James, the current king of England at the time MacBeth was produced, was the descendant of the actual Banquo- therefor proving the final prophesy true.