Macbeth Act 1

Act 1, Scene 1

Three witches, gathered in a secluded place are plotting to meet again with Macbeth when the battle is over “Where the place? Upon the heath. There to meet with Macbeth.”

Act 1, Scene 2

We are told by a wounded soldier that Macbeth has killed Macdonwald and Rosse reports that Macbeth has also defeated the Norwegians and has the thane of Cawdor held prisoner, ready for execution.

Act 1, Scene 3

The witches meet at the heath where Macbeth and Banquo come upon them. The witches predict that Macbeth will become thane of Cawdor, then king soon after. Banquo is jealous at Macbeth’s fortune and is told by the witches that his (Banquo’s) children will also be kings, meaning that they and Banquo are somehow related to Macbeth. Macbeth only believes the witches as he is then told by Angus and Rosse that he is now thane of Cawdor. Macbeth decides that instead of killing in order to become king he will leave it up to chance. “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me”. This is relating to fate, much like in Shakespeare’s other play, Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo says “he that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail”.

Act 1, Scene 4

After the previous thane of Cawdor is executed from helping the Norweigeins, Malcolm (Duncan’s eldest son) is name Prince of Cumberland. Macbeth then realised that he isn’t next in line for the throne and that for him to become king he must find a way to overthrow Malcolm. “For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires;” This quote is showing that Macbeth is plotting to get rid of Malcolm and he doesn’t want anyone to see or know about his plan.

Act 1, Scene 5

After Malcolm is crowned prince of Cumberland and announced heir to the throne, Lady Macbeth is introduced. She sits in a room in Macbeth’s castle reading a letter from her husband about the witches predictions. When Lady Macbeth’s speech reveals her nature and her intentions. As she thinks that Macbeth doesn’t have the ability to kill, she wills for her feelings to disappear and decides that she will be the one to kill the king. As the king has been invited to Macbeth’s castle that night, Lady Macbeth will do the deed without anyone, including Macbeth, finding out. “Come thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wounds it makes”.

Act 1, Scene 6

King Duncan and Banquo arrive at Macbeth’s castle and highlights how welcoming and pleasant the castle is “this Castle hath a pleasant seat”. Lady Macbeth enters and puts on a show about how inviting and thorough she has made their visit.

Act 1, Scene 7

Macbeth reveals to Lady Macbeth that he is second guessing proceeding with the execution plan of killing king Duncan, Lady Macbeth is raged at this and goes on a rant, challenging him to be a man and take upon the job. “art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thou art in desire?” This quote from lady Macbeth is her asking Macbeth if he is really has the guts to actually kill duncan as he desires.


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