"Double, double, toil and trouble" are some of the most famous words from Shakespeare's Macbeth and while they are not a part of the prophecies of the witches, they are an indication of what was to befall Macbeth. Lay Macbeth's dominance, Macbeth's own ambition, and the witches" prophecies are the three popular causes of Macbeth's downfall. While the first two causes were viable, it is obvious that there was some other force pushing and goading him to change from respectable and trustworthy to deceiving and murderous.
The three witches are introduced almost at the beginning of the play thus showing their importance in the course of events. While Macbeth is on his way home from fighting a battle for his country, he meets the witches for the first time and they reveal the three prophecies. The first of which is that he will become Thane of Glanis, which he was already. The second, Thane of Cawdor and the third was stated by the witches as "he shalt be King thereafter". Two of these prophecies because they were new revelations to him gave glimpses of greatness that he had great difficulty in ignoring. Because of the strength of their words and because of the great things that they promised, perhaps Macbeth never had a chance of doing what was right after his encounter with the witches. Macbeth's response to the prophecies was:.
(Act 1. Scene 3 ln. 147-155) .
" If good,, why do I yield to that suggestion.
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair.
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs.
Against the use of nature? Present fears.
Are less than horrible imaginings.
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,.
Shakes so my single state of man.
Than function is smothered in surmise,.
And nothing is but what is not.".
Immediately after hearing the witches" prophecy that he will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king in order to receive the power and respect that comes with taking over the throne.