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Macbeth Act Summaries

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Last Updated: 15 November 2020

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The play takes place in Scotland. Duncan, King of Scotland, is at war with the King of Norway. As play open, he learns of Macbeth's bravery in victorious battle against Macdonalda, a Scot who sides with Norwegians. At the same time, news arrives concerning the arrest of the treacherous Thane of Cawdor. Duncan decides to give the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth. As Macbeth and Banquo return home from battle, they meet three Witches. Witches predict that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and the King of Scotland, and that Banquo will be the father of Kings. After the Witches disappear, Macbeth and Banquo meet two noblemen Ross and Angus, who announce Macbeth's new title as Thane of Cawdor. Upon hearing this, Macbeth begins to contemplate the murder of Duncan in order to realize the witches' second prophecy. Macbeth and Banquo meet with Duncan, who announces that he is going to pay Macbeth a visit at his castle. Macbeth rides ahead to prepare his household. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth informing her of the witches' prophesy and its subsequent realization. The servant appears to inform her of Duncan's approach. Energize by news, Lady Macbeth invokes supernatural powers to strip her of feminine softness and thus prepare her for the murder of Duncan. When Macbeth arrives, Lady Macbeth tells him that she will plot Duncan's murder. When Duncan arrives at the castle, Lady Macbeth greets him alone. When Macbeth fails to appear, Lady Macbeth finds him in his room, contemplating the weighty and evil decision to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth taunts him by telling him that he will only be a man if he kills Duncan. She then tells him her plan for murder, which Macbeth accepts: they will kill him while his drunken bodyguards sleep, then plant incriminating evidence on the bodyguards. Macbeth sees a vision of a bloody dagger floating before him, leading him to Duncan's room. When he heard Lady Macbeth ring the bell to signal completion of her preparations, Macbeth set out to complete her part in the murderous plan. Lady Macbeth waits for Macbeth to finish the act of regicide. Macbeth enters, still carrying bloody daggers. Lady Macbeth again chastises him for his weak-mindedness and plants daggers on bodyguards herself. While she do so, Macbeth imagines that he hear haunting voice saying that he shall sleep no more. Lady Macbeth returns and assures Macbeth that little water will clear us of this deed. As thanes Macduff and Lennox arrive, porter pretends that he is guarding the gate to hell. Immediately thereafter, Macduff discovers Duncan's dead body. Macbeth kills two bodyguards, claiming that he was overcome with a fit of grief and rage when he saw them with bloody daggers. Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain, fearing their lives to be in danger, flee to England and Ireland. Their flight bring them under suspicion of conspiring against Duncan. Macbeth is thus crowned King of Scotland.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Act II

Summary As Macbeth makes his way toward the King's bedchamber, he encounters Banquo with his son Fleance. Banquo has been unable to sleep and explained to Macbeth that he has been dreaming of weird sisters. After arranging to meet again in order to discuss the matter, Banquo asserts his allegiance to the King and bids good night to Macbeth. No sooner is Macbeth alone, than he has extraordinary experience. Either in the heat of the moment or through some supernatural visitation, he sees a ghostly dagger indicating the way to Duncan. Convince that there's no such thing, he climbed to the King's chamber. Analysis opening dialogue sets the scene: It is past midnight, moon has set, and candles of heaven stars cannot be see. Symbolically, airy lightness that greets Duncan's arrival at the castle in Act I has completely vanish, to be replaced by brooding darkness. In this opening scene of Act II, as in later Porter Scene, audience feels momentarily suspended from action but in no way removed from the intensity of emotion as innocent Banquo and his son pass time of night. The moment at which Banquo so very nearly draws his sword on a potential intruder is a master-stroke of dramatic irony: Banquo has no idea of what the audience know. The Dagger's speech is, deservedly, one of the most celebrated in Shakespeare. Like if it were do, this soliloquy is a fascinating piece of stage psychology. The structure of lines precisely echoes swings from lucidity to mental disturbance that characterize Macbeth throughout the play. There are three false alarms: I still see thee still. I see thee yet. I see thee still! Between each of these alarms come moment of respite in which Macbeth appeals to the world of physical senses: art thou not. Sensible to feeling? My eyes are make fools of other senses, and it is bloody business which inform thus to my eyes. Nevertheless, as in the earlier scene with his wife, Macbeth eventually capitulate. The urge to become King is now strong in him. In his final lines, as he ascends to the King's chamber, he imagines himself as the personification of Murder itself, stealthily making its way towards its victim. Change of tone to one of high rhetoric and classical allusion may seem out of place, but not if we imagine Macbeth putting on a mask of language in preparation for murder. The distinction between word and deed in the last line is an idea that occurs frequently in Shakespeare. What we say and what we do are frequently very different matters. But in the final couplet, Macbeth seems to transfer his own doubts concerning afterlife to Duncan: Whether the King will go to heaven or hell is now an academic matter; ironically, for Macbeth himself, outcome is likely to be more certain.


Summary: Act 2, scene 1

As Macbeth leaves the hall, Lady Macbeth enters, remarking on her boldness. She imagines that Macbeth is killing the king even as she speak. Hearing Macbeth cry out, she worried that chamberlains have awaken. She says that she cannot understand how Macbeth could failshe had prepared daggers for chamberlains herself. She asserted that she would kill king herself then and there, and he not resemble / father as he Sleep. Macbeth emerge, her hands covered in blood, and says that the deed is do. Badly shake, he remarks that he hear chamberlains awake and say their prayers before going back to sleep. When they say amen, he tries to say it with them but finds that word sticks in his throat. He added that as he killed the king, he think he heard voice cry out: Sleep no more, / Macbeth do murder Sleep. Lady Macbeth at first tries to steady her husband, but she becomes angry when she notices that he has forgotten to leave daggers with sleeping chamberlains so as to frame them for Duncan's murder. He refused to go back into the room, so she daggered into the room herself, saying that she would be ashamed to be as cowardly as Macbeth. As she leave, Macbeth hears a mysterious knocking. Portentous sound frightened him, and he asked desperately, Will all the great Neptunes ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?. As Lady Macbeth reenters the hall, knocking comes again, and then third time. She leads her husband back to the bedchamber, where he can wash off blood. Little water clears us of this deed, she told him. How easy it is then!.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Act IV

Witches are vaguely absurd figures, with their rhymes and beards and capering, but they are also clearly sinister, possessing a great deal of power over events. Are they simply independent agents playing mischievously and cruelly with human events? Or are Weird Sisters agents of Fate, betokening inevitable? The word Weird descends etymologically from the Anglo-Saxon word wyrd, which means Fate or doom, and three Witches bear striking resemblance to Fates, female characters in both Norse and Greek mythology. Perhaps their prophecies are constructed to wreak havoc in the minds of hearers, so that they become self-fulfilling. It is doubtful, for instance, that Macbeth would have killed Duncan if not for his meeting with the Witches. On the other hand, Sisters prophecies may be accurate readings of the future. After all, when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane at the end, soldiers bearing branches have not hear of prophecy. Whatever the nature of Witches ' prophecies, their sheer inscrutability is as important as any reading of their motivations and nature. Witches stand outside the limits of human comprehension. They seem to represent part of human beings in which ambition and sin originatean from an incomprehensible and unconscious part of the human psyche. In this sense, they almost seem to belong to the Christian framework, as supernatural embodiments of the Christian concept of original sin. Indeed, many critics have argued that Macbeth, remarkably simple story of temptation, fall, and retribution, is the most explicitly Christian of Shakespeare's Great tragedies. If so, however, it is dark Christianity, one more concerned with bloody consequences of sin than with grace or divine love. Perhaps it would be better to say that Macbeth is the most orderly and just of tragedies, insofar as evil deeds lead first to psychological torment and then to destruction. The Nihilism of King Lear, in which the very idea of divine justice seems laughable, is absent in Macbeth. Divine justice, whether Christian or not, is a palpable force hounding Macbeth toward his inevitable end.


Summary: Act 4, scene 1

In dark cavern, bubbling cauldron hisses and spits, and three witches suddenly appear onstage. They circled cauldron, chanting spells and adding bizarre ingredients to their steweye of newt and toe of frog, / wool of bat and tongue of dog. Hecate materializes and compliments witches on their work. One of the witches then chants: by pricking of my thumbs, / Something wicked this way come. In fulfillment of Witchs prediction, Macbeth enters. He asks witches to reveal the truth of their prophecies to him. To answer his questions, they summon horrible apparitions, each of which offer predictions to allay Macbeth's fears. First, floating head warns him to beware of Macduff; Macbeth says that he has already guessed as much. Then a bloody child appears and tells him that none of the women born / shall harm Macbeth. Next, crowned child holding a tree tells him that he is safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. Finally, procession of eight crowned kings walks by, last carrying a mirror. Banquos ghost walk at the end of the line. Macbeth demands to know the meaning of this final vision, but the witches perform a mad dance and then vanish. Lennox enters and tells Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth resolves to send murderers to capture Macduffs castle and to kill Macduffs wife and children.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Summary: Act 1, scene 1

On heath near the battlefield, thunder rolls and Three Witches appear. One says that she has just come from illing swine and another describes the revenge she has planned upon sailor whose wife refused to share her chestnuts. Suddenly, drum beats, and the third witch cries that Macbeth is coming. Macbeth and Banquo, on their way to Kings court at Forres, come upon Witches and shrink in horror at the sight of old women. Banquo asks whether they are mortal, noting that they do seem to be inhabitants of earth. He also wonders whether they are really women, since they seem to have beards like men. Witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis and as Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is baffled by this second title, as he has not yet heard of King Duncan's decision. Witches also declare that Macbeth will be King one day. Stun and intrigue, Macbeth presses the Witches for more information, but they have turn their attention to Banquo, speaking in yet more riddles. They call Banquo lesser than Macbeth, and greater, and not so happy, yet much happier; then they tell him that he will never be King but that his children will sit upon the throne. Macbeth implores the Witches to explain what they meant by calling him Thane of Cawdor, but they vanish into thin air. In disbelief, Macbeth and Banquo discuss a strange encounter. Macbeth fixates on details of prophecy. Your children shall be kings, he says to his friend, to which Banquo responds: You shall be King. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Ross and Angus, who have come to convey them to the King. Ross tells Macbeth that the King has made him Thane of Cawdor, as the former Thane is to be executed for treason. Macbeth, amazed that the Witches ' prophecy has come true, asks Banquo if he hops his children will be kings. Banquo replies that devils often tell half-truths in order to win us to our harm. Macbeth ignores his companions and speaks to himself, ruminating upon the possibility that he might one day be King. He wonders whether the reign will simply fall to him or whether he will have to perform dark deed in order to gain crown. Finally, he shakes himself from his reverie and the group departs for Forres. As they leave, Macbeth whispers to Banquo that, at a later time, he would like to speak to him privately about what has transpire.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Analysis: Act 1, scenes 1-4

These scenes establish plays dramatic premisethe Witches awakening of Macbeths ambitionand present main characters and their relationships. At the same time, first three scenes establish a dark mood that permeate the entire play. Stage directions indicate that the play begins with a storm, and malignant supernatural forces immediately appear in the form of Three Witches. From there, action quickly shifts to a battlefield that is dominated by a sense of grisliness and cruelty of war. In his description of Macbeth and Banquos heroics, captain dwells specifically on images of carnage: he unseamed him from nave to chops, he say, describing Macbeth's slaying of Macdonwald. Bloody murders that fill the play are foreshadowed by bloody victory that Scots win over their enemies.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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