6th March 2018

Mcbeth scene summaries

act one, scene one:

Characters: 3 witches

3 witches conversing, deciding to meet Macbeth on the heath after the battle is done           

Witches “when the hurlyburly’s done when the battle’s lost and won” First of many paradoxes used by the witches. “fair is foul and foul is fair”


act 1, scene 2

Characters: Duncan, Rosse, Malcom, Lenox

Rosse explained to Duncan (king) how the battle ended in Scotlands victory and Duncan makes Macbeth the thane of Cawdor – though Macbeth does not know it yet.

Captain – First view of Macbeth : ” For brave Macbeth – Destaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution.” he is seen as a hero because of killing the traitorous Macdonwald.

act 1, scene 3

Characters: Witches, Macbeth, Banquo

Location: the ‘heath’

Note: (aside) means that the character is speaking directly to the audience – showing thoughts

A rhyming couplet marks the end of a scene

The witches make a plan to cause mischief. Then enter Macbeth and Banquo and the witches tell them of things to come like Macbeth becoming king and Banquo’s children being king – this introduces a conflict. Rosse and Angus come and tell Macbeth that he s now lord of Cawdor – confirming one of the witches prophecies. 

Macbeth (aside): ” if chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” In this we can draw a connection to Romeo giving himself up to fate ” then he that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail”. Macbeth is saying that if he is fated to be king, then he will let fate give it to him.

act 1, scene 4

Location: the kings castle

Macbeth and king Duncan talk, Macbeth professing his loyalty to the king. But saying aside “stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires” asking god to look away from his treasonous desire to kill the king.

act 1, scene 5

Location: Lady Macbeth and Macbeths house

Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth telling that king Duncan will come to their house that night. Lady Macbeth chastises Macbeth and believes that he is not ‘strong’ enough to kill the king, she calls on evil spirits to “un sex her” and give her the able-ness of a man in order to make Macbeth king.

Macbeth arrives home and talks with lady Macbeth and she gives him a speech saying ” look like the innocent flower But be the serpent under’t” However Macbeth is uninspired.


Analysis : metaphor

In Elizabethan times there was a smothering oppression that choked women – giving them very little voice and very few options. They are forced to act a certain way, with more rules about what they can’t do, than things the can. For many women this would create frustration, desperation, and, perhaps (in lady Macbeths case) a crazed desire for cruelty and violence.  Lady Macbeth is a desperately dark woman who Shakespeare has laced in her evil intentions and presents her ‘dire ambition’ through metaphors. Metaphors are used to catch our attention with powerful imagery and personification… such as ” nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry, hold, hold!”  Act 1, scene 5, line 52. Lady Macbeth, moments before had called upon the spirits to sharpen her weak, unable woman’s body into a weapon of vilest cruelty suitable for defying God and killing King Duncan. When she says ” nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark” she is using personification to portray heaven as a scared child or person cowering under a blanket, hiding from the terrors of the world. “The blanket of the dark” portrays the night as thick, heavy and, most importantly, able to conceal. In saying this Lady Macbeth is asking the impossible, she wants her actions to go unseen by God and heaven.



Act 1, Scene 6

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

Location: Lady Macbeth and Macbeths house

King Duncan praises Lady Macbeths house and Lady Macbeth simperes, claiming to be his humble servant and not letting on to her murderous intents.

Act 1, Scene 7

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth

Location:  Lady Macbeth and Macbeths house

Macbeth (alone) praises Duncan and decides not to to go through with the murder. Lady Macbeth enters and Macbeth tells her of his decision, Lady Macbeth gets very angry and scorns his unmanliness. After her speech Macbeth agrees to join her – Lady Macbeth tells him a plan to make the guards drunk and pin Duncans murder on them.







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