Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Macbeth book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What dire consequences do the dagger, Banquo's ghost and the apparitions lead to for the characters in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Expert Answers info

Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write4,625 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

The dagger foreshadows Macbeth's mental instability. He begins to lose his mind once he decides to murder Duncan. Knowing the murder to be wrong, Macbeth still moves forward with the heinous act. The appearance of the dagger solidifies Macbeth's future dark path (one filled with murder and madness). The dagger represents Macbeth's first step towards a life driven by ambition (his hamartia). 

Although not explicitly stated, one could assume that Banquo's children face dire circumstances as they are forced to live without their father. Outside of this, the play does not offer any direct explanation of another character who faces dire consequences because of Banquo's ghost. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write4,625 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

William Shakespeare offers readers multiple instances of foreshadowing which cue readers in to what is to come for the characters of Macbeth

The Dagger

The Dagger illustrates both Macbeth's murder of Duncan and his impending mental instability (signaled by his hallucinations). No one but Macbeth sees the dagger, therefore it only affects Macbeth and his own future.

Banquo's Ghost

Banquo's ghost directly impacts both Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth. The appearance of the ghost at Macbeth's coronation dinner shows Macbeth to be imbalanced. As he looks at the dinner table, Macbeth notices that no chairs are open for him to take. His guests question his mental stability, noting that a chair does sit empty. Unfortunately, Macbeth sees Banquo (or his ghost) sitting in his chair. Lady Macbeth must come to his rescue to defend her husband's mental state. Here, Banquop's ghost opens up Macbeth to the criticism of his guests. 

The Apparitions

The Apparitions' prophecy lead Macbeth down the path to his destruction. If Macbeth would not have misinterpreted the prophecies, Macbeth would have been able to be far more careful with his future. By misinterpreting the prophecies, Macbeth insures his tragic fate. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



potterhead1997 | Student

Thanks for your answer how exactly does the dagger affect macbeth's future? Also does banquo's ghost have dire consequences for any other character than macbeth?