In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the three witches give Macbeth a false sense of security with their apparitions of truths. Instead, they prove to be harmful for Macbeth who takes too much comfort and confidence in his interpretation of the truths. In the first apparition, a floating head warns Macbeth to beware Macduff. The apparition confirms Macbeth’s own fears saying he has already guessed as much. In the second apparition, a bloody child tells Macbeth, “None a woman born shall harm Macbeth” (4. 1, p. ).
Believing everyone is born of woman, Macbeth takes relief in the idea that he will never be harmed. Although, the apparition does provide a truth, but unbeknownst to Macbeth, Macduff was not of “woman born” rather “from his mother’s womb / untimely ripped” (5. 9 p. 349). Macduff was born through cesarean section after his mother died hence the bloody child in the apparition. In the third apparition, a crowned child holding a tree, tells Macbeth he is safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill.
Again, the apparition deceives Macbeth the way he perceives it thinking Birnam Wood cannot move to Dunsinane Hill. Later, a messenger tells Macbeth the trees of Birnam wood are advancing toward Dunsinane. Malcolm’s soldiers carry the tree branches to Dunsinane making the apparition truthful. The crowned child in the apparition is Malcolmthe future king after Macbeth. Finally in the last apparition, a procession of eight crowned kings walks by, the last one carrying a mirror.
Banquo’s ghost walks at the end of the line. The witches vanish before Macbeth could get a meaning behind the apparition. The apparitions still carry hope for Macbeth even as he begins to realize his doom. With Banquo’s words, “And oftentimes, to win us our harm / The instruments of darkness tell us truths / Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s / In deepest consequence” (1. 3, 122-126), the apparitions provide Macbeth a deceitful truth that turn on him with deadly results.