Macbeth and Banquo’s reaction to the prophecy told to them by the witch’s gave way for two opposing opinions on both the validity and manifesting of the prophecy. Although their opinions throughout the unveiling of the prophecy were opposing throughout, at all times they both rendered the prophecy in contrastive ways, whether they contemplated on its benefit or hindrance towards their gleaming future. “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter! ” Great fear was shown on Macbeth’s face suggesting he was very hesitant toward the idea of him becoming King.
However Banquo was much more optimistic about the words of the witch’s, questioning Macbeth, “why do you start and seem to fear things that do sound so fair? ” Macbeth is still in shock which gives time for Banquo to question the witch’s about his future. He became quite intrigued by what the witch’s had told Macbeth so he could not withhold the opportunity to be acquainted with his children’s faith and discover “which grain will grow and which will not”. Banquo seemed to be quite optimistic in his willingness to indulge in the witch’s prophecies. Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more! ” This portrays to us that Macbeth has now become fond of the prophecy and is thirsts to know more about his future. As Macbeth continues to cry out for the witch’s return after their abrupt disappearing, he cries out “Would they had stayed! ” It now becomes apparent that Macbeth is engulfed in what the witches have told both him and Banquo. Suddenly Banquo begins to revisit the whole situation and begins to speculate if the entire ordeal actually occurred. “ Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner? he continues to question the possibility that they could be hallucinating. This is the beginning of Banquo’s now hesitance towards indulging in the witch’s prophecies, and Macbeth’s now apparent obsession with the witch’s prophecy. Macbeth attempts to persuade Banquo by regurgitating the witch’s prophecy and reminding Banquo that his children “shall be kings”. And what better could Banquo have replied to Macbeth with to continue to hold Macbeth prisoner to the prophecy other than “You shall be king”.
It is now seen that the tides have shifted, and Macbeth is now very much engulfed in the prophecy, as Macbeth discovers that a portion of the prophecy has been fulfilled with the title ‘Thane of Cawdor’ being placed unto him. As Macbeth continues to be animated about the possibility of the entire prophecy being fulfilled, Banquo becomes hesitant towards the prophecy. It is this speech by Banquo that defines his reasons for being so cautious in his reaction to the prophecy. “oftentimes to win us to our harm the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray’s in deepest consequence. This speech portrays Banquo’s new found reluctance towards the witch’s forecast of the future. He now sees what Macbeth is blind too, the possibility of knowledge becoming more harmful to the men rather than helpful in Macbeth’s want for more, particularly pertaining to him becoming King. As Macbeth begins to weigh the prophecy against logic and the now present, he accepts the fact that if “two truths are told, as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme. Macbeth is now beginning to assume that if portions of the prophecy are being fulfilled as the witch’s had said, it is only a matter of time before he shall become king. As Macbeth continues to be engulfed by what will be his future downfall, he assumes that all of his new found fortune “Cannot be ill, cannot be good”. Macbeth begins to wonder if the prophecy is so good, then why is it now that he is considering killing Duncan in order to receive the throne.
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And sadly he is willing to do whatever he believes it takes to become, completely being unaware to the fact that he did not have to intervene in order for him to become Thane of Cawdor as the witch’s had prophesised. “Come what come may” Macbeth says, proposing that he is willing to kill Duncan if necessary. It was clear that before scrutinizing the prophecy Banquo was much aroused by the witches’ foretelling of the future, but after close examination he became tentative towards him possibly becoming a victim of the new found knowledge.
Sadly it is very apparent that Macbeth is now engulfed in his plans to becoming King using any means necessary. What makes it so unfortunate is that he doesn’t realize it, “ Think upon what hath chanced, and at more time, the interim having weighed it, let us speak our free hearts to each other “, he says this not realizing that his mind is already made up on the fact that he will stop at nothing to gain the crown.
Banquo’s hesitance towards the witches is well justified in the fact that witches seldom inform us completely on the future, leaving us to pursue and conclude the fantasy with our devilish wishes. Both Banquo and Macbeth share their reasons in an attempt to justify their reaction towards the witch’s speech, but it is apparent that Macbeth is engulfed by greed and his wishes to become King.
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