How does Lady Macbeth find out about the witches?Does Macbeth tell her?    

1 Answer | Add Yours

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth tells his wife about the witches in a letter.  Act 1.5 begins with Lady Macbeth reading the letter aloud. 

She begins the scene reading the word, "They," which is a pronoun that the reader understands refers to the witches.  This means that she begins reading the letter aloud--and the scene opens--after she has already read some of the letter.  Macbeth, presumably, tells her about the witches in the unread portion of the letter. 

He also tells her more about the witches in the letter, which she continues to read aloud.  The witches, however, are not the main topic of the letter--the predictions they made and the coming true of one of them are what the letter is really about.  And Lady Macbeth's response to the letter, once she's finished reading, demonstrates this:

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be

What thou art promised.... (Act 1.5.15-16)

She's already determined that Macbeth shall be king as the witches predicted. 

In addition to serving the dramatic/pragmatic purpose of introducing Lady Macbeth and informing her of the predictions, the letter also reveals more about Macbeth's personality.  Macbeth reveals that he "burned" with desire to question them further--he is desperately ambitious.  And he has already made the decision to trust them--something he wasn't at first so sure he should do.  This will lead to his downfall. 

We’ve answered 319,190 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question