Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How are the prophecies proclaimed by the three apparitions in Act IV, scene 1, fulfilled in Act V of Macbeth.  

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What is interesting about these prophecies is that are not fulfilled in the manner Macbeth expects. As such, they provide an example of situational irony.

The first prophecy, for example, is that Macbeth should beware Macduff . While Macbeth knows that Macduff poses a risk to his power, he does not realize that it is Macduff who will kill him in act V. Part of the reason for this is that Macbeth is told in the second prophecy that he cannot be harmed by anyone of "woman born." Because everyone has a mother, Macbeth assumes that this means nobody can kill him. What he fails to realize, however, is that this prophecy alludes to the practice...

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