Act 1- Scene Summaries

Scene 1:

Three witches meet, they say  “When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battles lost and won”

I think this is an important line of the Scene because of the insight it gives the reader. A battle is expected, and after the ‘confusion of the battle and storm is done’ the witches will meet again with Macbeth, for whatever reason that is unknown to the reader.

Hurlyburly= confusion of the battle and the storm

Later on in the scene they say ” Fair is foul, Foul is fair”

I think that this means that things are meaning the opposite/ not what the seem to be, which could be referencing to the future.


Scene 2:

A soldier retold the story of how Macbeth fought during the battle to King Duncan, and how he slaughtered Macdonwald, cutting his own passage to get to Macdonwald, blood steaming off his sword. The soldier compares King Duncan’s army to that of a predator and its prey ( the hare the lion), this shows how the Norwegians were outnumbered and didn’t stand a chance.

Kind Duncan and Macbeth are cousins,  Macdonwald was helping the Norwegians to overthrow Scotland, and King Duncan is pleased with Macbeths efforts to kill Macdonwald.

Duncan sends Rosse and Angus to deliver the news that Macbeth can have the Thane of Cawdor title.

Scene 3 :

The witches promised/foresaw Macbeth that he would be King and would be the Thane of Cawdor, and Banquo’s children would be Kings.  He believes the witches because their prophecy for Macbeth is later confirmed when Rosse and Angus tell Macbeth he is to be Thane of Cawdor, because of his triumphs in the battle.

He says ” If Chance will have me King, why, Chance may crown me, Without my st

Scene 4:

Malcolm tells of the Thane Of Cawdors execution, Duncan names Malcolm as the Prince of Cumberland and the heir to the crown and Macbeth is shocked that he was not, because of the witches prophecy and also because he was the greatest general. This is an obstacle in his path to becoming king and it reveals his dark intent.

Important Quote:


(aside) The prince of Cumberland! That is a step

On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,

For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see my black and deep desires.

The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see

Extract; No Fear Shakespeare

This is translated to Macbeth saying for him to become King himself like the witches promised he will have to step over Malcolm or give up, because he is in the way of Macbeth’s plans. He hopes that no one can see the terrible things he will do.

ir”.  This means that Macbeth doesn’t need to interfere with the fate of him being King, but later on, he could change his mind.

NOTE: I know that Banquo is murdered and his son Fleance escapes alive and runs away*-this is conflict, possibly caused by Macbeth.

This is very similar to Romeo’s situation and his quote about fate/chance ” He that Hath the steerage of my course, Direct my Sail”.

Scene 5:

Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth about the witches and their prophecy for him to be King and his excited at the information but thinks that Macbeth’s nature is to nice for him to be King, even though he has ambition, he isn’t evil enough to accompany it.  Later on she says, that she can influence Macbeth with her evil thoughts and argue away the things that stand in the way of the Crown.

“Than wishest be undone. Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear”

Then a messenger tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan will visit her house and she prays she has the strength to do the evil that Macbeth isn’t strong enough to do, which is to murder Duncan. She wishes her feminine qualities are taken away ( women were thought to be weak in Shakespeare times) That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty!”   Macbeth arrives and Lady Macbeth tells him she will take control of the situation and Macbeth can be the innocent person people expect him to be, while she handles Duncan when he arrives at their home.

This scene shows how Lady Macbeth is powerful over her husband, which is strange in those times because women are supposed to be weak and have no authority, yet Lady Macbeth knows exactly what she needs to do to have the prophecy come true.

Scene 6:

Outside Macbeth’s castle

King Duncan and Banquo arrive at Macbeth’s castle and are welcomed by Lady Macbeth. Duncan thanked Lady Macbeth for her hospitality ( Duncan and Banquo are staying at the castle).  

Scene 7: 

Characters: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth

Location: In a room in the castle, a private conversation

Events:  Lady Macbeth and Macbeth discuss their plan to kill Duncan but Macbeth is doubting whether they should continueHe thinks that he has his friends respect and everything he could want in life, and he doesn’t want to ruin it by killing DuncanLady Macbeth is outraged, she calls him a coward and too weak to follow through on his promises. 

(‘ Was the hope drunk , wherein you dressed yourself ? hath it slept since, And wakes it now, to look so green and pale’?

She said if she made a promise as he did then she would commit to it.  Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to continue with the plan. They decide to make Duncan’s guards so drunk they pass out, and then kill Duncan with their swords. The guards won’t be able to remember what happened so they can’t defend whether they killed Duncan or not. They will grieve like everyone else so they don’t look suspicious and no know knows the crime they have committed. 


” I have given suck, and know / How tender ‘t is to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you have don’t to this”

This is Lady Macbeth challenging Macbeth, saying that if she had sworn/ promised something like he did, she would follow through, no matter how severe the consequence or how big the sacrifice is. This statement from Lady Macbeth is challenging her husband to see if he will back down.

STATE OF MIND  (were the witches real, is Macbeth going crazy)

Scene 8:







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