Describe Banquo And Macbeth's Reactions To The Witches

In Act 1, Scene 3 of Macbeth, what are Banquo's and Macbeth’s reactions to what the witches have told them?


Expert Answers

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Concerning Shakespeare's Macbeth, you can read the basics of the two thane's reactions for yourself in Act 1.3.  Most of what you need is readily apparent. 

To clarify for you, I'll explain a detail or two and raise a point you may not notice upon a first or second reading.

The witches are androgynous, first of all.  They appear to be women, yet wear beards.  Macbeth and Banquo are, if anything, confused.  Banquo is not afraid at all.  He doesn't take the weird sisters seriously, and there's no evidence of his feeling any fear. 

Macbeth, however, starts, or flinches, recoils, according to Banquo.  This is significant.  Banquo asks:

Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear

Things that do sound so fair?

Macbeth's flinch demonstrates his reaction to his being called the Thane of Cawdor and the prediction that he will be king.  To flinch is to withdraw from as if from pain or anticipated pain, to tense the muscles involuntarily in anticipation of discomfort.  Macbeth recoils, tenses up,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 855 words.)

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