They are actually temptations leading to irresistible destruction. Let us examine this more clearly as we move on.
As the play begins, we see Macbeth and his friend Banquo, a fellow soldier returning to the king's palace from the battle-field. All of a sudden, they encounter three witches proclaiming the prophecies to them. These prophecies have a great impact on Macbeth's mind and his action thereafter. As these serve the base of the character's action, as we move on, we also see how these prophecies become reality through the hallucinations. The first of these visions occur when Macbeth is about to kill King Duncan. He sees a dagger floating in the air and says:
This vision gives the reader a clue that a sin will be committed by Macbeth soon. It is as if it tempts and forces Macbeth that he has to follow the order of the vision. Just as the vision did, his own wife Lady Macbeth initiates him in performing the dreadful act. Thus, Duncan, King of Scotland dies. The purpose of the first vision is fulfilled. Thus, we instantly notice the result of the wrongful deed as he says through his own mouth:
The second of the hallucinations occur as he sees the ghost of Banquo sitting in a chair at a feast, pricking his conscience by mutely reminding him that he has murdered his former friend. This sets deeply in his mind and a sense of extreme fear starts to overwhelm him from then on. We comprehend all these through his own words:
"Ay, and bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil."
This vision produces a strong effect in his mind reminding him of his cruel act that has become the second sin in his life. Thus, we are able to see how the character suffers through these re-occurring hallucinations that force him to do more sin loosing the moral sense. The outcome of these hallucinations not only affects Macbeth, but it also has a great impact on Lady Macbeth.
We see her walking in her sleep and pondering over all the guilt that had taken over her. This confirms that she has lost peace in her life and the only way to get rid of her pains is by killing herself. These lines serve as a best example for the mental torture she undergoes:
"Here's the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes
Of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
Oh, oh, oh!"
Macbeth is clear that these are only visions, but he is not able to avoid them completely. We even see that he says these lines from which we can assume that though he knows this he cannot help him.
"Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain."
I conclude this paper by stressing on the point that the visions or hallucinations serve hand in hand with the prophecies by serving the purpose of deforming the