Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

Five Key Questions

3) Why does Macbeth think the Witches want to help him?

When Malcom reveals that he was taken from his mother’s womb – or, in other words, delivered via Cesarean section – Macbeth finally understands that the Witches’ prophecies meant his downfall, not his elevation. Up to the end of the play, Macbeth has confused the fact that the Witches’ predictions always came true with the idea that their predictions were helpful to him. Everything the Witches predict does come true, but everything that happens ends up hurting Macbeth as well. He does become Thane of Cawdor, but that feeds his ambition so he kills Duncan. He becomes the king, but as a result kills many people, including his best friend. When Macbeth hears the Witches’ final prediction, he is tormented by the vision of Banquo’s children ruling instead of him, but he still doesn’t understand that the Witches are not on his side. He sees their predictions that he can’t be defeated until Birnam Wood moves and that he can’t be killed except by a man not born of a woman as proof that he is protected. He is very wrong.