Macbeth Act I

Act I, Scene i summary Thunder and lightning crash above a Scottish moor. Three haggard old women, the witches, appear out of the storm. In eerie, chanting tones, they make plans to meet again upon the heath, after the battle, to confront Macbeth. As quickly as they arrive, they disappear.
Act I, Scene ii summary At a military camp near his palace at Forres, King Duncan of Scotland asks a wounded captain for news about the Scots’ battle with the Irish invaders, who are led by the rebel Macdonwald. The captain, who was wounded helping Duncan’s son Malcolm escape capture by the Irish, replies that the Scottish generals Macbeth and Banquo fought ferociously, with Macbeth brutally slaying Macdonwald and impaling his head. Ross enters and informs that the thane of Cawdor and his norweigan allies have been repelled.King Duncan decrees that the thane of Cawdor be put to death and that Macbeth be given Cawdor’s title. Ross leaves to deliver the news to Macbeth.
Act I, Scene iii summary -three witches reappear & ask eachother what they’ve been doing. One says that she has just come from “[k]illing swine” and another describes the revenge she has planned upon a sailor whose wife refused to share her chestnuts (this illustrates their cruelty).- Macbeth and Banquo enter and Banquo asks whether they are mortal, noting that they don’t seem to be “inhabitants o’ th’ earth.” He also wonders if they’re really women, since they have beards like men.-The witches hail Macbeth as thane of Glamis (his original title) and as thane of Cawdor. Macbeth is baffled by this second title, as he has not yet heard of King Duncan’s decision. The witches also declare that Macbeth will be king one day. -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, and then the witches vanish-Ross enters and notifies Macbeth that he is now thane of Cawdor. Macbeth, amazed that the witches’ prophecy has come true, butBanquo says that devils often tell half-truths in order to “win us to our harm” (foreshadowing).-Macbeth wonders whether the reign will simply fall to him or whether he will have to perform a dark deed in order to gain the crown.
Act I, scene iv summary -At the king’s palace, Duncan hears reports of Cawdor’s execution from his son Malcolm, who says that Cawdor died nobly, confessing freely and repenting of his crimes. Macbeth and Banquo enter with Ross and Angus-Duncan announces his intention to name Malcolm the heir to his throne. Macbeth declares his joy but notes to himself that Malcolm now stands between him and the crown. Plans are made for Duncan to dine at Macbeth’s castle that evening, and Macbeth goes on ahead of the royal party to inform his wife of the king’s impending arrival.
Act I, scene i-iv analysis of mood/atmosphere -the first three scenes establish a dark mood that permeates the entire play. The stage directions indicate that the play begins with a storm, and malignant supernatural forces immediately appear in the form of the three witches.-“he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops,” he says, describing Macbeth’s slaying of Macdonwald (1.2.22). The bloody murders that fill the play are foreshadowed by the bloody victory that the Scots win over their enemies.- Macbeth immediately realizes that the fulfillment of the prophecy may require conspiracy and murder on his part. He clearly allows himself to consider taking such actions, although he is by no means resolved to do so. -The witches’ rhyming incantations stand out eerily amid the blank verse spoken by the other characters, and their grotesque figures of speech establish a lingering aura. Whenever they appear, the stage directions deliberately link them to unease and lurking chaos in the natural world by insisting on “Thunder” or “Thunder and lightning.”
Act I Scene i-iv analysis of witches -Shakespeare has the witches speak in language of contradiction “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” and such as their characterization of Banquo as “lesser than Macbeth, and greater”-Macbeth’s first line in the play is “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (1.3.36). This line echoes the witches’ words and establishes a connection between them and Macbeth.
Whom does Macbeth defeat in battle? The armies of Norway and Ireland
What do the witches prophesy? that Macbeth will be king and Banquo’s sons will be kings
What title, predicted by the witches, does Macbeth receive? Thane of Cawdor
Who is made heir to Duncan’s throne? Malcom, King Duncan’s son
Act I, Scene v summary -In Inverness, Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth, telling of his promotion to Thane of Cawdor and of his meeting with the witches.- Lady Macbeth says she knows Macbeth is ambitious, but fears he is too full of “th’ milk of human kindness” to take the steps necessary to make himself king – She knows she’ll have to make him follow through with the actions necessary-A messenger enters and informs Lady Macbeth that the king rides toward the castle, and that Macbeth is on his way as well. -she begs, “you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty” to put her natural femininity aside so that she can do the bloody deeds necessary to seize the crown. -Macbeth enters and says Duncan plans to only spend the night, but Lady Macbeth claims that the king will never see tomorrow
Act I, Scene vi summary Duncan arrives at the castle and praises the castle’s pleasant environment and thanks Lady Macbeth for her hospitality. She replies that it is her duty to be hospitable since she and her husband owe so much to their king.
Act I, Scene vii summary -at the feast, Macbeth is pondering over killing Duncan. He says it would be easy for him if he knew it wouldn’t set so many things in motion. He declares his willingness to risk eternal damnation but realizes that even on earth, bloody actions “return / To plague th’inventor”.-he then considers why he shouldn’t, b/c Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman, subject, and host; moreover, the king is universally admired as a virtuous ruler. he realizes his only motivation is ambition.-Lady Macbeth enters, and Macbeth claims he will not kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth, outraged, questions his manhood, “When you durst do it,” she says, “then you were a man.”-her plan is to get the king’s guards drunk, and while they’re passed out Macbeth will murder Duncan, and smear blood on the guards’ clothes and blades.- Macbeth tells his wife that her “undaunted mettle” makes him hope that she will only give birth to male children
Act I, scene v-vii analysis on Lady Macbeth -her violent, blistering soliloquies in Act 1, scenes 5 and 7, testify to her strength of will, which completely eclipses that of her husband. She is well aware of the discrepancy between their respective resolves and understands that she will have to manipulate her husband into acting on the witches’ prophecy. -she spurns her feminine characteristics, crying out “unsex me here” and wishing that the milk in her breasts would be exchanged for “gall” so that she could murder Duncan herself
What does Lady Macbeth resolve to do? whatever it takes to make Macbeth king
What does Lady Macbeth think Macbeth lacks? the manliness to follow through with his ambitions
What is Lady Macbeth’s plan for murdering Duncan? getting the guards drunk, then murdering the king in his sleep, and leaving the blood on the guards’ clothes and blades
What are the witches discussing in Act I, scene i? they make plans to meet again upon the heath, after the battle, to confront Macbeth.
What scene does the wounded captain describe to Duncan in the beginning of Scene ii? the Scottish generals Macbeth and Banquo fought ferociously, with Macbeth brutally slaying Macdonwald and impaling his head.
Who are Macbeth and Banquo? What has Macbeth done to Macdonwald? Who else did they vanquish? They are two scottish lords/generals. Macbeth has decapitated Macdonwald and put his head on a pike. They also fought off the Norweigan army and their ally, the thane of cawdor
What does Duncan pronounce for the Thane of Cawdor? Why? his execution. Because he worked with the Norweigans to invade Scotland.
In Scene 3, who are awaiting Banquo and Macbeth in the forest? How does Banquo describe them? the witches. Banquo asks whether they are mortal, noting that they don’t seem to be “inhabitants o’ th’ earth.” He also wonders if they’re really women, since they have beards like men.
With what greetings do they hail Macbeth? What is his reaction? The witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis (his original title) and as Thane of Cawdor. Confusion, because he doesn’t know that Duncan has appointed him this title yet
What does Banquo ask the witches? Why? he asks of his future, and they say Banquo is “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,
What news do Ross and Angus bring to Macbeth? How does this support the witches’ prediction? That Macbeth is now Thane of Cawdor, which the witches just called him. This leads Macbeth to wonder if the other things the witches said were true as well.
What does this startling support prompt Macbeth to start thinking about? What are his initial feelings about this act? He starts wondering if he really will become king. This makes him fear what will have to happen for this prophecy to come true
In the beginning of Scene 4, who accompanies Duncan? Malcolm, who is reporting on the execution of the Thane of Cawdor. Ross, Angus, Banquo, and Macbeth enter.
How does the King greet Macbeth? How does he praise Banquo? “O worthiest cousin”, and goes on about he can’t thank Macbeth enough. He praises Banquo and promises to reward him heavily in the future.
Whom does the King declare Prince of Cumberland? Why is Macbeth distressed by this? Malcolm, Duncan’s son. This worries Macbeth because Malcolm is now in between him and the throne. This takes away the option that he would come along the throne by chance/honestly.
At the beginning of Scene 5, what is Lady Macbeth reading? What is she worried about concerning her husband’s character? A letter from Macbeth, telling her of his promotion to Thane of Cawdor and his encounter with the witches and their prophecy. She knows that Macbeth is ambitious, but fears he doesn’t have the manliness/strength to do what is necessary to become king.
What news does the messenger bring Lady Macbeth? What does she “pray” for? Both the king and Macbeth are coming to Inverness. She prays for “spirits” to take away her femininity or “unsex” her, and give her the strength to kill Duncan herself.
What advice does she give Macbeth? She tells her husband to have patience and to leave the plan to her.
How do Duncan and Banquo describe Macbeth’s home in Scene 6? as having a pleasant air
How does Lady Macbeth greet her king? graciously, and says its her job to be hospitable to the king they owe so much to
In Macbeth’s soliloquy at the beginning of Scene 7, what is he arguing with himself about? Whether he should kill Duncan or not, and what his reasons/motives are for doing so. He realizes the only outcome of him doing this would be chaos and his ambition being filled.
What does Macbeth tell his wife about their recent plans? What is her reaction? Macbeth claims he will not kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth, outraged, questions his manhood, “When you durst do it,” she says, “then you were a man.”
What does Macbeth agree to do? In what manner? He agrees to kill Duncan once he’s heard her plan, which is to get the guards drunk, kill Duncan, and then smother his blood on the guards’ clothing and blades
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” – (Act I, Scene I) all three witches; Everything we delight in is evil to other beings and vice versa
“When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won?” (Act I, Scene I) first and second witch; when shall we meet again? When the battle is over
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.” (Act I, Scene 3) Macbeth; if i’ll get the crown naturally, then of course I’ll accept. why not?
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as’t were a careless trifle.” (Act I, Scene 4) Malcolm; describing the Thane of Cawdor’s execution, that he died honorably. He apologized for his actions and took it calmly.
“Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” (Act I, Scene 5) Lady Macbeth; I fear that Macbeth’s too kind to do what’s needed to become king (murder Duncan).
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.” (Act I, Scene 5) Lady Macbeth; she is asking for the strength to do what’s necessary to make Macbeth king. She’s asking for the ability to look innocent but be truly ferocious.
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other.” (Act I, Scene 7) Macbeth; he’s contemplating whether he should kill Duncan or not. He’s realizing that the only reason to motivate him to murder the king is his own ambition.
“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.” (Act I, Scene 7) Macbeth; he’s responding to Lady Macbeth’s outrage that that he doesn’t want to kill Duncan. She has questioned his manhood, but he responds that he’s done all that makes him a man, but dares not to do more.

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