Act 4 Scene Summaries

Scene 1: 

Characters: 3 witches, Hecate, Macbeth, 3 Apparitions, Lenox


This is a very BIG scene… In the beginning, the 3 witches are creating an evil potion in a cauldron.  Hecate enters and commends the witches for their efforts. Macbeth enters and immediately starts demanding answers from the witches.   The witches tell Macbeth to listen and not ask of them They send an apparition ( a armed head) appeared saying to beware of Macduff. Macbeth demands more and a second apparition emerges, this one a bloody child. This apparition said that no man of woman borne shall harm Macbeth. This is a very dangerous prophecy because knowing no one can kill you gives you too much security, and for Macbeth, if he thinks no one can kill him, he is basically invincible.  Macbeth decides to kill Macduff anyway even if he knows no man from woman borne can kill him. A third apparition appears and says that Macbeth will never be vanquished until Great Birnam woods move to Dunsinane hill ( that is impossible). Too much security AGAIN. Macbeth asks if Banquo’s son will ever be King and he is presented with a vision of 8 Kings along with Banquo’s ghost.  The witches and apparitions disappear and Lenox arrives to tell Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth instantly decides to kill all his family and castle, including any poor souls that work for him.

Important Quotes:

1st Apparition: ‘Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware of Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife!’

2nd Apparition: ‘Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn// The power of man, for none of woman born// Shall harm Macbeth!

3rd Apparition: ‘ Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care// Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill// Shall come against him”

Macbeth: “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to the edge of the sword// His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line”

Macbeth is heavily reliant on the prophecies he has been told, to the point where he will kill Macduff’s family,  even though they and Macduff pose no real threat ( the 2nd apparitions prophecy).  Macbeth has WAYYYYY too much security about being King.

Scene 2:

Characters: Lady Macduff, Rosse, Son, Messenger, Murderer

Location: In Fife, Macduff’s castle.

Events: Rosse tells Lady Macduff that she is in danger of Macbeth, she is angry her husband left his own son fatherless, he is dead to her.  Rosse leaves and she talks with he son about traitors and Macduff being a traitor. A messenger rushes to tell her to flee immediately but they are too late. A murderer enters and kills Macduff’s family.

Important Quotes:

Lady Macduff: “ Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes, His mansion, and his titles, in a place, From whence himself does fly? He loves us not”

Scene 3:

Characters: Macduff, Malcolm


Macduff has arrived in England and wants Malcolm to return to Scotland to overthrow Macbeth, but Malcolm is suspicious so he tests Macduff by pretending if he were to be King that he would be worse than Macbeth. Initially, Macduff argues that this doesn’t matter, but as Malcolm keeps speaking of his sins, Macduff is in despair. He has an outburst and says that Malcolm is not fit to be King, or to live! This is exactly what Malcolm needed to hear, and he reassures Macduff he was lying to test his loyalty.  Malcolm has an army ready to invade Macbeth.

Rosse arrives and reports rumors that the Sottish people are wanting to rise against Macbeth. He tells Macduff that his ALL of his family and servants etc.. were slaughtered. They prepare to invade Scotland !!!

Important Quotes:

Macduff:  “Fit to govern?
No, not to live.—O nation miserable,”
“Macduff, this noble passion, Child of integrity, hath from my soul// Wiped the black scruples , reconciled my thoughts, to thy good and honour, Devilish Macbeth!”
“But i must also feel it as a man: I cannot but remember such things were// That were most precious to me-Did heaven look on, And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff! they were all struck for  thee, Naught that i am, not for their own demerits, but for mine”
Macduffs family was murdered because of his actions ( fleeing Scotland, betraying Macbeth). He seeks to get revenge.









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