The witches, or ‘weird sisters’ (act I, scene 3), appear before Macbeth and Banquo whilst they are out walking and tell them prophecies of what both of their futures hold.

They predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland, while Banquo’s sons will be heirs to the throne although he shall never be king himself.

Their predictions begin the train of events that lead to many murders, the downfall of Scotland, and ultimately Macbeth’s death.


Speak. Demand. We’ll answer.

— Act IV, scene 1

Need to know

• Predict that Macbeth will become king

• Tell Banquo that his children will be kings

Key quote

The instruments of Darkness tell us truths; Win us with honest trifles, to betray us In deepest consequence

— Act I, scene 3

Also called

imperfect speakers
— Act I, scene 3

secret, black, and midnight hags!
— Act IV, scene 1


The Weird sisters
— Act I, scene 3