What role do Macbeth's visions and hallucinations play in the development of his character?

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In the play Macbeth, reality is often difficult to discern due to the mystical forces that surround the characters. The three witches, who serve not only as a kind of chorus but also as active characters in conversation with Macbeth and others, offer predictions about Macbeth's future. At the start of the play, Macbeth hears their first prophecy about how he will be made Thane of Cawdor and also king, and when he quickly does become Thane of Cawdor, he puts his faith in the witches. This is the first time visions and hallucinations guide Macbeth in his choices. Because of what the witches tell him, he decides he will now move forward and, with the help of his wife, assassinate Duncan in order to become king.

Since the witches also told Macbeth and Banquo (Macbeth's best friend) that he will "get kings," Macbeth believes the safest route is to kill Banquo and his only son, Fleance , to preclude any future rivalry to the throne. Thus, his fate is sealed—especially since his wife takes the witches's...

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