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Macbeth: Act One Summary

Scen
Characters
e One :
Three
Witches

Scen
e Two

Characters
:
King Duncan,
his sonsMalcolm and
Donalbain,
Lennox,
a soldier

Scen
Characters
e
:
Three Three
Witches
Macbeth
Banquo
Ross
Angus

Summary:
The three witches meet on the heath.
They say they will meet again, and
Macbeth will be there.

Summary:
King Duncan is told that Macbeth has won
two battles and that the current thane of
Cawdor is a traitor.
The King decides that Macbeth will be the
new thane of Cawdor, and sends Ross to
let him know.

Summary:
The witches give three predictions to
Macbeth and one to Banquo.
The predictions areTo Macbeth
1 He will be thane of Glamis
*2

Quote: Fair is foul and foul is fair


Meaning: Things are not as they seem. What looks attractive
is evil, and what looks bad is actually good.
This is important because it is a theme of the play.

Quote: No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive our


bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, and with his
former title greet Macbeth.

Meaning: The King is saying that the old thane of Cawdor will
not trick him ever again, and that Macbeth will be the new
thane of Cawdor.

Quote: So fair and foul a day I have not seen.


Meaning: I have never seen a day that was so good and so
bad at the same time. (relates to quote from Sc 1)

Quote: All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! All hail
Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth that
shalt be king hereafter!

Meaning: The witches are addressing Macbeth as thane of


*3

To Banquo

Glamis (a title he already has), thane of Cawdor (he soon finds


out he has this title too) and future king. This makes him think
that it is possible he will become king, and he wonders if he
should take action to make it happen, or if it will just happen on
its own.

*1

Ross and Angus arrive to tell Macbeth that


he is now Thane of Cawdor.
Banquo recognises this as evil, but
Macbeth is encouraged to put further trust
in the predictions.

Scen
e
Four

Scen
e
Five

Characters
:
King Duncan
Malcolm
Macbeth
Banquo

*Character
s:

Summary:

Quote: Theres no art to find the minds construction in the

The thane of Cawdor has been executed.


Macbeth and Banquo are thanked by
Duncan for their loyalty and service. He
promises to reward them.
Duncan names his son Malcolm as heir to
the throne.
As an honour to Macbeth, Duncan and his
court are going to stay at Macbeths
castle. Macbeth leaves to go to his castle
to prepare it. He is upset that Malcolm has
been named heir.

face.

Summary:

Quote: I fear thy nature; It is too full o th milk of human

Lady Macbeth is reading a letter from


Macbeth, telling her about the prophecies
and becoming thane of Cawdor.
She is worried that Macbeth will not have

kindness

*Meaning:

Quote: The prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I


must fall down, or else oerleap, for in my way it lies.

*Meaning:

*Meaning:

the courage or cruelty needed to make


the prophecy come true by killing the
king.
She hears that the king is coming to stay
and asks the spirits to make her less
feminine so that she will be able to
participate in the murder of the king.
She tells Macbeth to remain calm in order
to avoid suspicion.

Quote: Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex


me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top- full of direst
cruelty.

*Meaning:

Quote: Look like th innocent flower, but be the serpent under


t.

*Meaning:

Scen
e Six

Characters
:
Duncan
Banquo
Lady
Macbeth

Scen
e
Seve
n

Characters
:
Macbeth
Lady
Macbeth

Summary:
Lady Macbeth welcomes Duncan and the
court to her castle.

Quote: Theres no art to find the minds construction in the face


Meaning:

Summary:

Quote: If it were done when tis done, then twere well it were

Macbeth is thinking hard about all the


reasons why he should not kill Duncan. He
tells Lady Macbeth that he wont go
through with it.
She calls him a coward and says he is

done quickly.

*Meaning:

unmanly.
Lady Macbeth plans to get the Kings
servants drunk so that Macbeth can kill
him while he is sleeping, then blame the
servants.

Quote: When you durst do it, then you were a man. And to be
more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.

*Meaning:

Quote: Screw your courage to the sticking place, and well not
fail.

*Meaning: