Plot Events: The witches plan to meet Macbeth when the fighting has finished.
On a moor (marsh/open land with wild flowers growing) are three witches.
- First Witch asks the other two witches when they should meet again… in thunder, lightning, or rain?
- Second Witch says after the battle is done, where the battle’s lost and won (one side wins, one side loses)
- Third With says the battle would end before sunset
- First Witch asks where they should meet
- Second Witch says to meet in an open field
- Third Witch says Macbeth will be at the open field
- First Witch calls to her cat Graymalkin that she’s coming.
- Second Witch says her toad Paddock is calling her.
- Third Witch says to her spirit she’ll be right there.
- All the witches leave with a chant: Fair is foul, foul is fair. Let’s fly away through the fog and filthy air.
Plot Events: King Duncan hears the news of the battle, and is told how bravely Macbeth and banquo fought against Macdonwald and the Norwegians & Thane of Cawdor; Duncan declares Macbeth the new thane of Cawdor.
In a town called Forres in Scotland, on the battlefields, where a battle call is heard. King Duncan and his sons (Malcolm and Donalbain—youngest), Lennox and other attendants meet up with a wounded Sergeant.
- King Duncan asks who is the bloody/wounded man, hoping that the man could tell him, his sons and attendants the latest news of the battle
- Malcolm, King Duncan’s son says that the wounded man is a brave Sergeant who prevented him from being captured. Malcolm then asks the injured Sergeant to tell the king what the Sergeant knows of the battle.
- Sergeant says that for a while, the battle was exhausting to both sides, as they tested each other’s skills; he claimed Macdonwald (the rebel) was supported by foot soldiers and horsemen from the Western Isles (Ireland and Hebrides). It seemed that fortune was on his side.
- however, Macdonwald’s luck didn’t last, because Macbeth was there, and Macbeth didn’t leave until he split Macdonwald open from the navel to the jawbone
- after King Duncan hears of the events, he comments that Macbeth is a brave friend of his, and a worthy man
- after the King’s praise for Macbeth, the sergeant tells the King that even though they succeeded against Macdonwald, the Norwegian king seized the chance to attack with fresh troops and new weapons on Macbeth’s exhausted army
- King Duncan asks the Sergeant if the Norwegian attack frightened the captains Macbeth and Banquo, but the sergeant said it didn’t
- the Sergeant said Macbeth and Banquo fought the Norwegians with twice as much force as they did with Macdonwald’s troops
- Sergeant suggested perhaps Macbeth and Banquo wanted to bathe in the Norwegian’s blood or recreate Golgotha (where Christ was crucified)
- the Sergeant tells the King he’s weak and his wounds must be tended to
- King Duncan says that the Sergeant’s wounds and story bring the Sergeant honour, and instructs his men to take the Sergeant to the surgeons
The Sergeant leaves with his troops. Ross (a nobleman—like Lennox) enters.
- The King asks who just entered.
- Malcolm, the King’s son says it’s the Thane of Ross
- Lennox comments and says that Ross has a frantic look in his eyes, as if Ross had something strange to tell them.
- Ross comes up to the King and his men, and says God save the King
- Duncan asks Ross where Ross came from
- Ross tells King Duncan he came from Fife, and in Fife (town in Scotland), a Norwegian flag flies, mocking Scotland
- Ross says there in Fife the King of Norway was supported by the Thane of Cawdor, and they began a fight
- Ross then says King of Norway and the Thane of Cawdor were defeated by Macbeth, who was as good as the husband of Bellona (the goddess of war)
- upon hearing Ross’ news, Duncan was happy
- Ross then adds that the Norwegian King wants a treaty after being defeated, but Ross told the Norwegian King himself that Norway weren’t allowed to bury their dead men until the retreated past Saint Colme’s Inch, and paid $10 000
- Duncan says that he must never have the Thane of Cawdor betray him again, so he orders that Ross announce the Thane of Cawdor’s execution, and instructs Ross to tell Macbeth that he’s the new Thane of Cawdor
- Ross says he’ll get on it right away
- Kind Duncan comments that what the Thane of Cawdor has lost, the noble Macbeth has won
Plot Events: The witches prepare to meet Macbeth who is travelling with banquo towards the king’s camp at forres; the 2 men hear the witches’ prophecies, and then Ross comes to Macbeth and banquo with the message from King Duncan.
The 3 witches are on the moor (marsh/open land with wild flowers growing) in thunder.
- First Witch asks the Second Witch what she’s been up to, and the Second Witch replies she was killing pigs
- Third Witch then asks the First Witch what she’s been up to, and the First Witch says that she saw a sailor’s wife eating chestnuts, and asked the wife for one
- when the wife wouldn’t give the First Witch one, the witch told herself that she’ll sail to the woman’s husband (who’s the master of the ship called the Tiger; the ship’s bound for Aleppo) in a kitchen strainer, turn herself into a rat, and do things to the husband
- Second Witch tells the First Witch she’ll give her some wind to sail to the husband, and the First Witch thanks her; the Third Witch then tells the First Witch she’ll also give her some wind
- the First Witch tells the two other witches she already has control of all the other winds, the ports in which the winds can blow to, as well as every direction on a compass the winds can go
- First Witch claims she’ll drain the man of life—he won’t be able to sleep at all, and live as a cursed man; for 81 weeks, he will live in agony
- First Witch adds that she can’t make the ship disappear, but she can make the man’s journey miserable
- First Witch shows the 2 other witches the thumb of a pilot who died on his way home
The 3 witches hear drums beating.
- Third Witch says that the drumming means Macbeth is coming
- all 3 witches chant: we weird sisters hand in hand, swift travelers over the sea and land, dance around and around like so; three times to yours, and three times to mine, and three times again, to add up to 9;
- witches end the chant by saying: “Enough! The charm is ready.”
Macbeth and Banquo enter.
- Macbeth says to Banquo that he hasn’t seen a day that was both foul (bad) and fair (good) at the same time
- Banquo asks Macbeth how much further Forres (King’s camp) is
- Banquo sees the witches, and asks Macbeth who those creatures are, as the witches were withered-looking and crazily dressed, thus looking inhumane
- Banquo asks the witches if they’re alive, and if they can talk; he believes they can talk because he sees the witches put their fingers on their lips when Banquo talked
- Banquo comments that they look like women but their beards make him think otherwise
- Macbeth tells the witches to speak, and asks them who they are
- the responses of the witches:
- First Witch: all hail Macbeth, thane of Glamis
- Second Witch: all hail Macbeth, thane of Cawdor
- Third Witch: all hail Macbeth, the future king
- Banquo tells Macbeth not to be scare of the nice things the witches are saying; Banquo then asks the witches if they’re illusions or actually witches
- Banquo then says that the witches have only said nice things of Macbeth about being noble and royal (causing Macbeth to be speechless), and so Banquo asks them to give him prophecies if they truly knew the future
- the witches’ responses:
- the witches say “Hail!” one at a time
- then the First Witch says: Banquo is lesser than Macbeth, but also greater
- then the Second Witch says: you won’t be as happy as Macbeth, yet you’ll be much happier
- then the Third Witch says: your children will be kings, even though you will not
- she then adds, all hail Macbeth and Banquo
- First Witch follows and also says: Banquo and Macbeth, all hail
- Macbeth tells the witches they’re impossible to understand, but he requests the witches to stay and tell him more
- Macbeth says that he already is thane of Glamis (because his father, Sinel was before his death)
- he’s confused as to why he’d be thane of Cawdor, since the current thane is believed to be rich, alive, and powerful’ and he’s more confused about being king (and says being king is just as impossible as being thane of Cawdor)
- Macbeth then asks the witches where they came up with these prophecies, and why they stopped him and Banquo on the isolated moor and gave these prophecies
- the witches vanish, and therefore didn’t answer
Witches vanish. Macbeth and Banquo are alone.
- Banquo says the Earth ahs bubbles just like the water, and believes the witches must’ve came from the bubbles; he wonders where they disappeared to
- Macbeth believes they vanished into thin air; he says he wished the witches stayed longer
- Banquo asks if the witches were actually there or had they actually imagined it; he wonders if perhaps they were drugged (by plant roots)
- Macbeth comments that Banquo’s kids will be kings
- Banquo says Macbeth will be king
- Macbeth than adds, thane of Cawdor also, as that’s what the witches said
- Banquo asks who’s there, and Ross and Angus enter
Ross and Angus enter.
- Ross tells Macbeth that King Duncan has heard of his successes—when the King heard the stories of Macbeth’s fighting, it made him speechless and he didn’t know whether to praise or be amazed of Macbeth, and how Duncan was shocked to learn he fought both the rebels (Macdonwald) and the Norwegians right after each other
- Ross says the King was surprised to learn that Macbeth wasn’t the least afraid of death
- Ross also says everyone has been praising Macbeth of his bravery—messenger after messenger
- Angus adds that the King had sent him and Ross to thank Macbeth, and that Duncan wants to reward Macbeth on top of the thanks he sent Angus and Ross to deliver
- Ross adds that part of the reward was that he is now the thane of Cawdor
- Banquo was shocked after hearing the news, asking: “Can the devil speak the truth?”
- Macbeth asks why he’s given the title as thane of Cawdor if the current thane is still alive
- Angus responds saying that the man who was the thane of Cawdor is alive but sentenced to death, because he committed treason and has admitted to it
- Macbeth says to himself the witches were right, and the best part (being King) will soon come
- Macbeth then thanks Ross and Angus for bringing the new
- Macbeth then asks Banquo if he’s beginning to hope his children will be kings, since the witches’ first 2 prophecies for Macbeth came true
- Banquo replies by saying that if Macbeth trusts what the witches said, he’s on his way to becoming king
- Banquo does say the whole thing is strange, and believes the agents of evil often tell us part of the truth in order to lead us to our destruction
- Banquo believes the witches earn Macbeth’s trust by telling him the truth about little things, but then deceive him in important matters
- Banquo asks Ross and Angus to step aside with him so Banquo can have a word with the two men
- while Macbeth is alone, he thinks to himself that the witches have gotten correct two of the prophecies, and so he believes the last prophecy will like come true
- he calls over to Ross and Angus, thanking them again
- then he thinks to himself again, and says supernatural temptation doesn’t seem like it can be a bad thing, but he also believes it can’t be good either
- then he wonders how it can be bad, if 2 prophecies came true
- he then wonders how it can be good if he’s thinking of killing Duncan, and says it frightens him to think of such; he realizes that even though murder is a fantasy, the mere though disturbs him very much
- Banquo sees Macbeth in daze/mind wandering
- Macbeth continues talking to himself, and says that if fate wants him to be king, then perhaps fate will make it happen, and Macbeth wouldn’t have to play any part in it
- Banquo sees Macbeth wondering, and says to Ross and Angus that Macbeth isn’t used to his new title (the title is like new clothes—they don’t fit until you break them in over time)
- Macbeth continues to think, and acknowledges one way or another, what’s going to happen will happen
- Banquo yells over to the lonely Macbeth telling him Ross, Angus, and himself are ready and waiting for Macbeth
- Macbeth tells them sorry as he was distracted; he thanks Ross and Angus again, acknowledging the troubles they took to deliver the news, and vowed never to forget their efforts
- Macbeth tells everyone that they’re going to the king
- Macbeth tells Banquo to think about the day’s events, and that when they both have time, they’ll talk about it
Plot Events: Duncan receives Macbeth and banquo in his company, and tells them that his son Malcolm is the next heir to the throne of Scotland.
In Forres (the king’s camp), inside a room in the king’s palace are King Duncan, his sons (Malcolm and Donalbain), and Lennox and other attendants.
- Duncan asks if the former thane of Cawdor has been executed yet, and if the people in charge of the execution have come back
- Malcolm says they haven’t come back, but he talked to someone who witnessed the execution—apparently the thane confessed his treasons, begged for the King’s forgiveness, and repented deeply
- the thane appeared as if he practiced his death his entire life
- Duncan replies that there is no way to understand a man’s mind by studying his face, since he built absolute trust on the thane, and was betrayed
Macbeth, Banquo, Ross and Angus enter.
- Duncan says to Macbeth that Macbeth is his worthiest kinsman, and he feels he hasn’t thanked Macbeth enough, since Macbeth has done so much for him recently, that he can’t thank him enough; Duncan believes Macbeth has done more than he can every repay
- Macbeth says the opportunity to serve the King is his own reward; Macbeth says Macbeth owes the king to serve him
- Macbeth says what he did was his duty to the King and the country (similar to the duty of a child to their dad); Macbeth says by doing everything to protect the King is what he’s meant to be doing (it’s his duty to protect the king)
- Duncan says that making Macbeth thane of Cawdor, the King has planted seeds to make Macbeth a great man
- Duncan tells Banquo that Banquo deserves no less than Macbeth and everyone should know it; the King tells Banquo that he’ll give Banquo the benefit of his love and good will
- Banquo replies that if Banquo was to do anything great, it would be because of the king
- Duncan says that he is very joyful (could almost cry); he then tells his sons, relatives, lords, people who are close to him, that his eldest son Malcolm is now the Prince of Cumberland
- Duncan adds Malcolm won’t be the only one receiving titles—everyone who deserves them will get them
- Duncan says to Macbeth that they should go to his castle in Inverness, and says because he’s going to Macbeth’s, he owes Macbeth even greater
- Macbeth replies that resting time is hard work if it’s not used for the king
- Macbeth tells Duncan he’ll go ahead of Duncan to his castle, in order to tell his wife the good news that the King is coming
- Macbeth says to himself, that since Malcolm is now prince, it’s an obstacle preventing him from being king
- he says to himself that the stars should hide their light, so that no one can see the deep desires within Macbeth
- also, he doesn’t want to see what his hands are doing, but in the end, he’s going to do the thing that he’s horrified to do (murder)
- Duncan says to Banquo, that Macbeth is very valiant (determined/courageous), and that Duncan’s satisfied with the praises he’s heard of Macbeth
- Duncan tells Banquo they should leave now, since Macbeth has gotten enough time to get ahead and prepare the King’s welcoming
- Duncan lastly comments Macbeth is a man without a equal (one of a kind)
Plot Events: Lady Macbeth reads her husband’s letter; then she and Macbeth talk of their plans.
In a room at Inverness (Macbeth’s castle).
- Lady Macbeth is reading a letter from Macbeth, and in the letter, Macbeth says:
- witches met him on the day of his victory in the battle, and claims that the witches have supernatural knowledge
- he tried to question the witches further, but they vanished into thin air
- while he stood stunned after hearing the prophecies, messengers from the King arrived and told him he was thane of Cawdor, proving the witches to be correct
- Macbeth tells his wife that he wanted to share the news with her, so that they could both rejoice about him eventually becoming king because the witches are correct in their prophecies
- he asks his wife to keep everything she’s learned of in the letter a secret
- Lady Macbeth begins talking to herself, saying that Macbeth is going to be king, but she worries about whether Macbeth has the “guts” to become king (by killing Duncan)
- she claims Macbeth is too kind to be aggressive; she says Macbeth wants to be powerful, but lacks true ambition because he doesn’t have the “mean streak” they these things call for
- she says Macbeth only does good things—he doesn’t want to cheat, yet he wants what doesn’t belong to him; there’s something Macbeth wants, but he’s afraid of doing the necessities needed to get it; she claims Macbeth wants something, but wants that something done for him
- she tells herself Macbeth must hurry home so that she can persuade him to kill Duncan; she claims fate and witchcraft both want Macbeth to be king
A messenger enters.
- Lady Macbeth asks what news the messenger brings.
- the messenger says that the king is coming tonight
- Lady Macbeth says that the messenger is crazy to say that, since Macbeth is with the king, and Macbeth then would’ve told her in advance so she could prepare for the King’s coming
- the messenger then says it’s the truth, as Macbeth sent a messenger in front of him to send the message of the King’s arrival
- Lady Macbeth tells the messenger to care for the messenger Macbeth sent
The servant exits.
- Lady Macbeth talks to herself again, and says that the messenger Duncan sent was short of breath, like a hoarse raven, as he announced Duncan’s entrance into the castle in which he’ll die in
- she asks her spirits that assist in murderous thoughts to make her less of a woman and more of a man (no love, compassion, tenderness, pity etc.), and to fill her with deadly cruelty, and thicken her blood and clog her veins so she’d feel no remorse (therefore no human compassion can stop her evil plans and her accomplishing of them)
- she asks that she be made insensitive, so remorse can’t reach her heart, and no conscience will stop her from her evil
- she asks to have her breast contain acid instead of breast milk
- she again asks the murdering demons to come out from hiding, and to ensure that the world is dark in order for the sharp knife not to see the wounds it cuts open on Duncan; therefore, heaven can’t see her doings and tell her to stop
- Lady Macbeth acknowledges him by saying he’s thane of Glamis and Cawdor, and he’ll soon be greater than both as he’ll become king; she adds that the letter transporter her into her imagination, into the future, making her feel like the present is the future (when Macbeth is king)
- Macbeth tells his wife Duncan is coming, and he plans to leave tomorrow
- Lady Macbeth claims that day will never happen, since he won’t be leaving as he’d be dead
- Lady Macbeth comments saying Macbeth’s face shows he’s troubled, which can allow people to understand his plans; she tells Macbeth that he needs to deceive everyone by acting normally (look like an innocent flower, but on the inside, be the snake hiding underneath the flowers)
- Lady Macbeth tells her husband she’ll make the preparations for tonight, because tonight will be the night that’ll change their lives, and tells Macbeth to treat the king as he normally does (treat him like royalty to avoid suspicion)
- Macbeth tells his wife that they’ll speak no further about this
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth he should project a peaceful mood, because if he looks troubled, suspicion will be aroused—fear always shows itself in a change of expression; she instructs Macbeth to leave everything else to her
Plot Events: Duncan and his court arrive at Macbeth’s castle and are welcomed by Lady Macbeth.
Music is playing and torches are lit. Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and other attendants are outside Macbeth’s castle.
- Duncan comments that the castle is a pleasant place, as the air is fresh and sweet and it appeals to his senses.
- Banquo replies that the fact that this summer bird (which he notices) nests here proves how inviting the breezes around the castle are; he adds that there isn’t a single protrusion in the castle walls that the birds haven’t built nests, and he’s noticed that they always settle where the air is the nicest
Lady Macbeth enters to greet them.
- Duncan remarks and says he sees the honoured hostess; he’s embarrassed by the lave that is shown to him, but he’s always grateful because it is love—he tells Lady Macbeth that he’s teaching her to ask God to reward Duncan for the trouble that Macbeth has taken, and also to tell God to thank Duncan for the trouble
- Lady Macbeth replies saying that no matter how much they do for the king, it’s nothing compared to the honours that Duncan has brought on the family; she adds that she’s welcomed Duncan as a guest, with gratitude for the honours (both old and new) he’s given Macbeth
- because of the King’s kindness, she says that her husband and her will be like holy men who offer prayers to the King
- Duncan asks where Macbeth is—he says they followed Macbeth, and comments Macbeth rides quickly; as well, he mentions says it is Macbeth’s love which is as sharp as a spur, that helped him ride so fast
- he adds he’s honoured to be their guests tonight
- Lady Macbeth says that she and her husband are the king’s servants, and tells Duncan that her the servants of the castle will hold everything trustworthily, and the king can make an audit if he asks for one to ensure nothing was taken
- Duncan tells Lady Macbeth to bring him to Macbeth, and adds he loves Macbeth dearly, and he forever will
Plot Events: Macbeth prepares for the murder. He knows that it’s a greater sin, but he’s wife forces him to do the deed.
A room in Macbeth’s castle has music playing, and servants carrying dishes for a feast. Macbeth then enters.
- Macbeth says to himself that if the business would be finished when he did the deed, then it would be best to get it over with quickly—if the assassination of the king could work like a net, sweeping up everything and preventing any consequences, then the murder would be the end of the entire affair
- he wants to ignore eternal life and the judgement there, but realizes he would be judged in present day Earth
- he tells himself that if he commits a violent crime, he’s only promoting violence, and eventually the violence of the students will come back to plague the teacher (him)
- he says justice is equal to everyone, and forces people to drink from the poisoned cup that we serve others
- he acknowledges the king trusts him as a kinsman and loyal subject who would protect him, and as well as a host who should be closing the door to a murderer’s face (not be the murderer himself, but be preventing the king’s murder)
- he admits Duncan is a good king, free of corruption, and he would never be forgotten even if he was murdered; Duncan’s death would cause misery throughout the country
- he realises he doesn’t want to murder—he realises the only thing motivating him is ambition, and realizes the ambition is like a horse that tries to jump to high, and falls on the other side of the fence
Lady Macbeth enters.
- Macbeth asks his wife what news she brings.
- Lady Macbeth says that Duncan is almost done dinner, and she asks Macbeth why he left the dining room.
- Macbeth responds by asking if Duncan asked for him; Lady Macbeth says yes he has
- Macbeth tells his wife that they can’t go through with this plan, since the king had just honoured him, and Macbeth has earned the good opinion of all the people; Macbeth enjoys these honours, and doesn’t want to throw them away
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that if he doesn’t do it she’ll always think of him as someone unable to act on his desires—suggests he’s too coward to take the crown he desires
- Macbeth tells his wife to stop—he says he isn’t a coward, as he dares to do only what a true man knows is right (he doesn’t dare do more)
- Lady Macbeth asks if Macbeth if he was a true man, what animal was he when he told Lady Macbeth he wanted to murder—she says that when Macbeth dared to it, that was when he was a man; then she says if Macbeth goes one step further by doing what he wanted to do, he’d be that much more of a man
- she tells when Macbeth first wanted to murder the time and place weren’t right; now that the time and place allow him to murder, he won’t murder
- she adds that she has always babied Macbeth, but she enjoys how sweet Macbeth as a baby is, but she wishes to take her nipple out of the baby’s mouth and smash its brains against a wall
- Macbeth worries they’ll fail, but Lady Macbeth says they won’t
- she says as long as Macbeth gets the courage, they’ll succeed
- when Duncan is asleep from the day’s hard journey that tired him, she’ll get his two servants so drunk their memory will go up in smoke
- when they’re drunk and passed out, Macbeth is given the opportunity of an unguarded Duncan; whatever Macbeth does can be blamed on the drunken servants
- Macbeth replies his wife saying she should only give birth to boys, because her fearless spirit only has masculinity
- Macbeth wants to carry out the murder now, as he says that once they cover the servants with the blood, and if they use the servant’s daggers, people won’t know Macbeth was the culprit (instead they’d think it was the servants)
- Lady Macbeth agrees, and says they’ll pretend to be grieving very loudly when they hear of Duncan’s death
- Macbeth claims he is now decided, and he’ll use every muscle in his body to murder
- he tells his wife to leave and be a friendly hostess, and hide with a false pleasant face with what you know in your false evil heart