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Module 1: Macbeth Act One

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Act one, scene three continued

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English - Act one, scene three continued

Act One, Scene Three Continued

Macbeth continues to speculate about whether what he has been told by the
witches is good or bad. He says it would seem good because of the truth of
him being Thane of Cawdor, however, if becoming king means he would have to
murder Duncan than it cannot be good. The thought of murdering unsettles
Macbeth and he concludes by saying that if fortune has it that he will be
king, then it will happen without him doing anything.

Macbeth's ambition is obvious, he fights courageously on the battlefield
to prove himself and he enjoys the respect and admiration he gets from
others. When the witches refer to him as Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is
pleased and although he would like to be king he admits it "STANDS NOT
WITHIN THE PROSPECT OF BELIEf" (line 73). When, immediately after, Macbeth
is told that the king has named him Thane of Cawdor, the prospect of being
king becomes more real. It is important to note that the witches did not
plant the idea of being king in Macbeth's mind - it was something he
already aspired to. The effect of their prophecies was to spur him into
action. Equally important is that the witches did not suggest Macbeth
murder Duncan. It is Macbeth himself who first mentions murder and it is
evident from his letter to his wife that it is something he has thought
about previously.

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