6th April 2017

Act 4 Scene 1

Characters: 3 Witches, Hecate, Macbeth, 3 apparition, Lenox

Location: A dark cave around a boiling cauldron

Events: The Witches prepare for their meeting with Macbeth by creating a magic brew. Macbeth arrives and commands the Witches to answer his questions whatever the consequences. The Witches’ ‘masters’ take the form of apparitions. An armoured head warns Macbeth about Macduff but a bloody child reassures him that he cannot be harmed by any man to whom a woman has given birth. Macbeth vows to kill Macduff. Then a third apparition – a child wearing a crown and carrying a tree – tells him that he will not be defeated until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane. At Macbeth’s insistence to know whether Banquo’s descendants will ever be kings, the Witches show a procession of eight kings with Banquo. The Witches disappear and Lenox arrives to report that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth decides to attack Macduff’s castle and kill his family.

Quote: ‘…Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him.’

‘That will never be: Who can impress the forest; bid the tree, unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!’

Explanation: When the third apparatition, a child crowned, with a tree in his hand informs Macbeth that when a the Great Birnam forest moves to Dunsinane hill Macbeth sounds relieved and overconfident because as far as he knows forests cannot not pick themselves up and move. The audience however may note what this child has said as a threat because, unlike Macbeth, they realise that the supernatural could have this ability and so this could very well happen.

The 3 apparations:

  1. An armed head – used to represent Macduff and is warning Macdeth that Macduff is coming
  2. A bloody child – used to tell Macbeth that no one can kill him
  3.  A child crowned, with a tree in his hand – used to tell Macbeth that something that is impossible (a forest moving) must happen before Macbeth is defeated
  4.  8 kings that are Banquo’s kids as kings through the generations – we know that they are his children because Banquo’s ghost is present and his children look like him. This is to represent that he is threatened by them and that in the end Banquo’s sons will be kings despite what the other apparations have said.

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