How does Shakespeare show conflict in Act Three, scene five of Macbeth?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Shakespeare's Macbeth, conflict what drives the plot forward. We see Shakespeare present yet another conflict in this play.

In Act III, scene v, the conflict presented is between Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, and the three witches, who basically "work" for her.

Hecate is very unhappy with the Weird Sisters. Herein lies the conflict: Hecate is mad with the witches for being involved with Macbeth. There are several reasons for her displeasure. First, Hecate was never called on to be a part of the plan against Macbeth, or to show how talented she is in the use of her black arts.

Second, they have given Macbeth information, but it has led only to his increased sense of self-importance, with no sense of respect or appreciation shown to the witches.

In order to fix the problem, the witches will meet the following day, when Macbeth comes for further help. At this point, they will provide him will illusions—predictions based upon magical visions. The visions and the predictions that go with each give Macbeth inaccurate, misleading insights. In doing so the witches will not be helping him, but will lure him to his destruction because he will believe he is invincible.

Hecate reminds the witches that man's biggest enemy (and certainly Macbeth's big mistake) is a false sense of security.