In this essay I will explore and explain one of William Shakespeare

Questions but simply hail macbeth first as thane of

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questions, but simply hail Macbeth, first as Thane of Glamis, then as Thane of Cawdor, and finally as "King hereafter." When Banquo asks that witches if they can foretell future, they hail him as a future sire of Scottish monarchs, and when Macbeth then asks the witches to explain their salutations and the means by which foresee future, they vanish into thin air. Banquo ultimately concludes that the witches are not an hallucination, nor are they of substance, explaining to Macbeth that, "the earth hath bubbles, as the water has/And these are of them" (I, iii, ll.79-80). Since both Macbeth and Banquo actually see the witches, and since both are of sound mind before and immediately after this encounter, the alternative thesis that the witches are only mental figments seems false. Moreover, Lady Macbeth (while she is in her right mind) accepts the reality of the witches having an independent existence. Nevertheless, Shakespeare deliberately upsets any firm conclusions as to who or what the weird sisters are. When Lennox arrives in Act IV, scene I. after the witches have vanished into air, Macbeth asks whether he saw them. Lennox replies with a simply no, and while his failure to see them is most plausibly the result of his having entered the scene too late, we are again thrown off balance. Leaving the issue of the witches' nature aside for the moment, we find that while the weird sisters can influence humans like Macbeth to carry out terrible acts, they cannot force them to do so, neither do they interfere directly in the commission of crimes. In facing the weird sisters, Macbeth undergoes a two-stage process: he first determines that they are credible and then decides to act upon this assumption. The first step occurs when word comes through Rosse and Angus that King Duncan has directed them to call Macbeth by his new title of Thane of Cawdor. Both Macbeth and Banquo then lend credence to the witches' ability to see into the future. Banquo, however, refuses the temptation of taking the second step, saying that, "The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's/In deepest consequence" (I, iii., ll.124-126). Macbeth, however, furnishes the witches with the essential ingredient for the mayhem they are brewing, the agency of his will. He first assumes a neutral stance toward acting upon the prediction that he will become king, asserting that "This supernatural soliciting/Cannot be ill, cannot be good" (I, iii., ll.130-131). Macbeth presumes that even though his encounter with the witches incites terror in him, it cannot be "ill" because it augured his success in becoming Thane of Cawdor. At this moment, Macbeth has headed down a slippery slope: once he proceeds with "weighing" the value of the witches' predictions he is only a short distance from subordinating his own will into an instrumentality of evil.
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