In Macbeth, what were the three predictions of the witches?

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Macbeth and Banquo first encounter them in Act 1, Scene 3 of the play, the three witches make three predictions:

The Second Witch predicts that Macbeth will be made Thane of Cawdor.

"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!

The Third Witch predicts that Macbeth will become king.

All hail, Macbeth, that shall be king hereafter!

Then Banquo asks them to predict his own future.

If you can look into the seeds of time

And say which grain will grow and which will not,

Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear

Your favors nor your hate.

The First Witch calls Banquo, "Lesser than Macbeth and greater," and The Third Witch makes the the third prediction:

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

Macbeth learns very quickly that he has been named Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan, who had ordered the present Thane of Cawdor to be executed for treason. This sudden fulfillment of the first prediction in the very same scene makes a strong impression on both Macbeth and Banquo. It will lead to the murders of both Duncan and Banquo.

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In act 4, scene 1, Macbeth travels to visit the Three Witches in order to learn more about his fate. After demanding that the witches give him additional insight into his future, the witches present three enigmatic prophecies to Macbeth. The first apparition appears as a head wearing an armored helmet. The apparition tells Macbeth to "beware of Macduff!" before vanishing. The second apparition appears as a bloody child, who commands Macbeth to laugh at other men because no one born of a woman will harm him. The third apparition appears as a young child wearing a crown and holding a tree in his hand. The apparition tells Macbeth not to fear anything and encourages him to be proud like a lion because he will not be defeated until Birnam Wood marches to fight him at Dunsinane Hill. These three prophecies give Macbeth false hope and confidence as he begins to feel invincible. Unfortunately, Macbeth drastically misinterprets the prophecies, which results in his tragic downfall.

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just-s's profile pic

just-s | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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thane of glamis, thane of cawdor and to be king

kimpdancer's profile pic

kimpdancer | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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You need to specify which act you are talking about, first of all.

In Act 1, the three predictions are thane of glamis, thane of cawdor, and king of scotland.

In Act 3(?), The three predictions are beware of Macduff, no one born of woman will harm Macbeth, and no man will harm him until Birnam wood moves.