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Scene 4.1

Scene 4.1 - A cave with a boiling cauldron
The witches gather around a cauldron to perform a spell in preparation for Macbeth. They chant and throw their magic ingredients in the pot such as eye of newt and scale of dragon. Hecate enters with three other witches, and she congratulates the first three witches on their spell. She instructs the second trio of witches to continue the spell. After some more ingredients are thrown in, there is a knocking at the door. The spell stops, and Macbeth enters. Macbeth demands to know more about his future. The witches call upon their masters to provide visions to Macbeth. The first apparition tells him to beware Macduff. It confirms Macbeth's fears of the danger that Macduff poses. The second apparition tells him to be confident because "none of woman born" will harm him. This vision allays his initial fear of Macduff and everyone else, too, because who is not of woman born? The third apparition tells him that he won't be defeated until Birnam Wood comes to his new castle at Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth is brimming with confidence now because no one can make an entire forest move. He now believes that he will rule until he dies of natural causes. Macbeth, satisfied with these positive predictions, asks to know if Banquo's sons will still rule Scotland one day. The witches, desiring to leave Macbeth overconfident, tell him that he doesn't need to know that. Macbeth pushes for an answer, and they relent. They show Macbeth a vision of eight kings, all of whom resemble Banquo. The vision terrifies Macbeth because he now knows that Fleance will survive and prosper. The eighth king holds a mirror, and when Macbeth looks into it, he sees that the line of kings extends much longer than eight. Some kings in this dynasty will even rule multiple kingdoms, not just Scotland. Hecate and the witches confirm the truth of this final vision, and then they dance around and vanish.
Lennox enters to tell Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. The news angers him, and he resolves that he will now be a creature of impulse. He orders an attack on Macduff's castle to murder his wife and children just because he can.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scenes 1.1 and 1.2
Scene 1.3 - An open place
Scenes 1.4 and 1.5
Scenes 1.6 and 1.7
Scenes 2.1 and 2.2
Scene 2.3 and 2.4
Scene 3.1
Scenes 3.2 and 3.3
Scene 3.4
Scenes 3.5 and 3.6
Scene 4.1
Scene 4.2
Scene 4.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.3 and 5.4
Scenes 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, and 5.8
Scenes 5.9, 5.10, and 5.11


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