William Shakespeare’s

MACBETH

 

Act 1, Scene 1 Summary

 

Characters: The three witches. 

Location: An open place.

Time: Not mentioned: Before the end of the battle. 

Events: The witches plan to meet again once the battle is over. They plan to meet Macbeth on the heath.

Quote:  “Fair is foul and foul is fair”  (Paradox)

 

Act 1, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, Sergeant, Rosse, Angus.

Location:  A camp near Forres (Forres: town and royal burgh).

Time: End of battle.

Events: A wounded sergeant arrives at the camp to inform King Duncan that Scotland has won the battle. Thane of Cawdor is executed as he betrayed Scotland and Macbeth takes his place as he was the reason for Scotlands victory.

Quote: “He hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won”

 

Act 1, Scene 3 Summary 

Characters: Three Witches, Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, Angus.

Location: A heath near Forres.

Time: Sometime after the battle has ended.

Events: The three witches gather and talk about their antics. Banquo and Macbeth arrive, astonished by the witches. They demand the witches tell them what lies in their future. The witches reveal that Macbeth will become thane of Cawdor as well as king and that Banquo will not become king; however, his children will. The witches vanish and Macbeth and Banquo question if the information they have been given by the witches is really true. Rosse and Angus arrive with the news that Macbeth has become thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is excited and unsettled, all at the same time. He is happy about his promotion to thane of Cawdor, just like the witches had promised. However; when will he become king and how will he become king? He can’t help the fact that somewhere in his mind, he is thinking that by how killing king Duncan, will lead him directly to the throne. Will fate crown Macbeth king or does he need to take action himself?

Quote: “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir.” (Macbeth to himself)

 

Act 1, Scene 4

Characters: King Duncan, Lennox, Malcolm, Donnalbain, Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, Angus.

Location: A room in the palace.

Time: Specific time is unknown, we know it is after the battle has ended.

Events: The previous thane of Cawdor (as Macbeth now has the title) owned up and took responsibility for his actions before his execution; Malcolm informs king Duncan about the event. Macbeth arrives and the king shows his gratitude for Macbeth’s bravery and effort in the battle and Macbeth thanks king Duncan for the opportunity of becoming thane of Cawdor and promises to serve him loyally. Macbeth is also informed that Malcolm has become the prince of Cumberland. He comes to the realisation that Malcolm stands between Macbeth and the lead up to the throne.

Quote: “Let not light see my black and deep desires.” (Macbeth to himself) – Implying that Macbeth has dark and shameful plans for how he will become king.

 

Act 1, Scene 5

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s messenger, Macbeth.

Location: Macbeth’s castle.

Time: Before king Duncan arrives to pay a visit.

Events: Lady Macbeth is informed by a letter from Macbeth about the witches supernatural predictions and how one of them has come true; so far. Macbeth arrives home to his castle and partner, where he tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan is coming to the castle that very night and will return to his palace in the morning. Lady Macbeth lets Macbeth know that she has decided to a murder of king Duncan herself. She believes Macbeth doesn’t have the cruelty within him to kill the king, as well as she doesn’t want to raise suspicion around Macbeth.

Quote: “Look like th’innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.” (Lady Macbeth to Macbeth)

 

Act 1, Scene 6

Characters: King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Rosse, Angus, Attendants, Lady Macbeth.

Location: Macbeth’s castle.

Time: King Duncan arrives at Macbeth’s castle.

Events: Duncan and Banquo discuss the pleasantness of Macbeth’s castle as they arrive. Lady Macbeth welcomes King Duncan, he is thankful for being hosted and very pleased about Macbeth becoming thane of Cawdor. In his mind, everything is perfect, unaware about the events to come.

Quote: “Conduct me to mine host, we love him highly, and shall continue our graces towards him.” (King Duncan to Lady Macbeth)

 

Act 1, Scene 7

Characters: Sewer, Servants, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth.

Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle.

Time: The night Macbeth plans to kill Duncan.

Events: Macbeth debates with himself if he should really go on with his plan of murdering Duncan. The king has only been good to Macbeth as well Duncan trusts him as his loyal worker and host. By committing this violent crime, Macbeth knows that karma will do it’s good in the long run, however his ambition is the only factor keeping him motivated. Lady Macbeth is not pleased about his doubt on the matter, implying Macbeth is a week coward. Her plan is to get the servants so drunk, they can not remember the events of the night, then blaming them for the murder of the king. Macbeth makes his decision: he is fully committed to commit the crime.

Quote: “I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat.” (Macbeth to Lady Macbeth)

 

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