Observing Macbeth‟s immediate reactions to the prophecies, Banquo says, “Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear/Things that do sound fair?” What reasons can you think of to explain why Macbeth is startled and apparently fearful when he hears the prophecies?

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Firstly any sort of witchcraft was cause for concern. Elizabethans really believed in witchcraft and the dark arts. Macbeth is startled to see these old hags that have beards like men. Secondly, they give Macbeth prophecies that sound unreal. Macbeth knows the Thane of Cawdor is a trusted servant of Duncan as well as that he (Macbeth) is not in immediate line for the throne. Still, the witches know certain things through their evil doings and Macbeth is filled with dread and, more importantly, anticipation.