William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s



Act 1, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: The three witches

Location: A desert place

Time: Unknown (before the end of the battle)

Events: The witches plan to meet again after the battle is over. They plan to meet Macbeth on the heath.

Quote: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” – Paradox.


Act 1, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: King Duncan, Malcolm, Donablain, Lenox, Rosse, Angus and Captain  

Location: A camp near the Castle of Forres.

Time: Does not state a specific time but is after the battle.

Events: A bleeding sergeant retells the first half of the battle to the King and Malcolm. The sergeant is then taken off to see the surgeons to heal his wounds. The Thane o f Ross enters, and continues telling the story of the battle that has just taken place. King Duncan plans on the killing of the traitor The thane of Cawdor.



Act 1, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: The 3 witches, Macbeth, Banquo, Angus and Rosse

Location: A heath

Time: Does not state a specific time but is after the battle.

Events: The 3 witches meet after the battle and chat about the future.



Act 1, Scene 4 Summary

Characters: Duncan, Malcolm, Donablain, Lennox, Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse and Angus.\

Location: Forres. A room in the King’s palace.

Time: Unknown but after the meeting of Macbeth, Banquo and the witches.

Events: King Duncan is talking about Cawdor’s execution when Macbeth enters. King Duncan then starts to praise Macbeth; Macbeth is gracious about this and takes the compliments from the King. King Duncan then declares his son Malcom as the heir to his throne. While this is happening Macbeth is hiding his dark desires.  



Act 1, Scene 5 Summary

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth and Messenger.

Location: Inverness. A room in Macbeth’s castle.

Time: After the meeting of King Duncan and Macbeth.

Events: Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth talking about his encounter with the 3 witches and how they say his destiny is to become King. Lady Macbeth questions his courage and wishes that she was a warrior so she can do what Macbeth can’t. Even so, she calls upon the evilness because she doesn’t want it to be seen by God as it as a faithless act. Macbeth arrives home and tells her about King Duncan’s arrival the next day.

Quote: “Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under’t”


Act 1, Scene 6 Summary

Characters: King Duncan, Malcolm, Donablain, Banquo, Lenox, MacDuff, Rosse, Angus, Lady Macbeth and Attendants.  

Location: Before the castle. Hautboys and Torches

Time: Unknown.

Events: King Duncan arrives and admires the castle, he is then led inside by Lady Macbeth. Banquo is acting in an over the top way towards Duncan, this could be because he knows that Macbeth will become King and hopes that something will occur while he is in the presence of both of them. Duncan then wishes to be taken to Macbeth. (During this Lady macbeth is also acting over the top towards Duncan; this could hide her other motive….)      

Quote: “Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly”


Act 1, Scene 7 Summary

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Servants.

Location: Hautboys and torches.

Time: Unknown,

Events: Macbeth starts to think about whether he and his wife should Kill the king. He has changed his mind; he will not kill the King. Lady Macbeth enters and argues against his decision, she thinks it is stupid and asks if he was drunk when he made his choice. She manages to turn Macbeth back to killing the King.       

Quote: Was the hope drunk


Act 2, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: Banquo, Fleance, Macbeth and Servant.

Location: Macbeth’s Castle

Time: Almost Midnight

Events: Macbeth awakens to find Banquo and Fleance talking about the night. Banquo then encourages Macbeth to kill Duncan; this causes Macbeth to debate with himself once again. But, once the bell rings he decides that it will be done at Midnight.        

Quote: Is this the dagger which I see before me,


Act 2, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth

Location: Macbeth’s Castle

Time: After Duncan’s murder

Events: Macbeth meets with Lady Macbeth after he has murdered Duncan; he is filled with guilt and anxiety. Lady Macbeth tries to make Macbeth feel better about the crime he has just committed, but to no success. Macbeth knows that he will live with Duncan’s blood on his hands forever. In this scene we see the completely different characters of the two; Macbeth is showing regret while Lady Macbeth knows she is guilty but is going to get over it. She has no regret about the murder of Duncan.         



Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Porter, Macduff, Lenox, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo

Location: A courtyard within Macbeth’s castle

Time: Early Morning

Events: A castle Porter let’s Macduff and Lenox into the castle. Macbeth come a greets them and says the King hasn’t woken yet. Macduff goes to see the King but instead finds his dead body. Macduff returns and describes what he has seen. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seem very surprised and very sad. Banquo enters and has his suspicions. The guards are blamed since they are all bloody; but Macebeth says that he killed the guards because he was so angry. Malcolm and Donablain flee because they believe that they will be killed and blamed.



Act 2, Scene 4 Summary

Characters: Rosse, Old Man and Macbeth

Location: Outside Macbeth’s Castle

Time: Unknown

Events: Rosse and the Old Man start talking. Rosse believes that the balance of the Earth isn’t right at the moment, it’s dark when it’s supposed to be light, animals attacking people and horsing are eating each other. Macduff arrives and discuss the dead King. It is still blamed on the guards but he believes that Malcolm and Donablain made it up as they have fled. Macbeth is also on his way to be crowned.  



Act 3, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: Banquo, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Lennox, Rosse, Lords, Attendants, Servant and Two Murderers

Location: Forres – The palace

Time: After Macbeth’s coronation  

Events: Macbeth has been crowned King. Banquo the begins to wonder if Macbeth killed Duncan; and if so, what does that mean for him and his children. Macbeth then sends everyone out because he needs time to think about Banquo. Macbeth convinces two murderers the Banquo is the enemy and they need to kill him and his son Fleance.             

Quote:  “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren sceptre in my gripe.” – Macbeth


Act 3, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Servant and Macbeth

Location: A room in the palace

Time: After Macbeth has ordered Banquo’s death  

Events: Lady Macbeth is by herself and shares her concerns as they have achieved nothing, but have given so much. They will have to live there life as murderers. Macbeth is very worried, even though Duncan is dead there are still dangers that will present themselves. He hints that something bad is coming  

Quote: “We have scorched the snake, not killed it”


Act 3, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Murderer 1, Murderer 2, Murderer 3, Banquo and Fleance

Location: A road leading to the palace

Time: Unknown

Events: 3 murderers try and kill Banquo and Fleance. They succeed in killing Banquo but not Fleance. He escapes.

Quote: “Fly good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!


Act 3, Scene 4 Summary

Characters: Macbeth, Lords, Lady Macbeth, Murderer, Lenox, Rosse, Attendants and The Ghost of Banquo.

Location: A room in the palace

Time: After Banquo’s murder

Events: There is a banquet prepared for Macbeth’s crowning as King. Macbeth then is informed of Banquo’s murder and how Fleance escaped. Macbeth pretends to be upset over the loss of Banquo, until the ghost of Banquo enters. Macbeth has wild outbursts a the ghost, but he’s the only one that can see it. Lady Macbeth covers it up by saying that he has hallucinations. The ghost of Banquo leaves and Macbeth comes to his senses then apologizes for his actions. The ghost of Banquo then reappears and Macbeth loses it again. Lady Macbeth then sends the thanes away saying he is sick. Macduff didn’t attend the party and will visit the witches to see what happens.   
Quote: “There the grown serpent lies: the worm, that’s fled, hath nature that in time will venom breed, no teeth for the present.”


Act 3, Scene 5 Summary

Characters: The 3 Witches and Hecate  

Location: The Heath

Time: After Macbeth’s coronation party

Events: Hecate the Witch Goddess is disappointed that the 3 Witches didn’t inform her of there plans with Macbeth. She then vows to lead Macbeth to his destruction.   

Quote: “He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear; and you all know, security is mortals’ chiefest enemy” – Hecate


Act 3, Scene 6 Summary

Characters: Lennox and a Lord

Location: Somewhere in Scotland

Time: After Macbeth’s coronation party  

Events: Lennox believes that Duncan and Banquo’s deaths weren’t caused by the sons and they shouldn’t be blamed. He is starting to become suspicious. The Lord says that Malcolm has travelled to England and has meet with the English King Edward the Confessor. The audience then learns that there are many Scottish citizens that are anti-Macbeth including the Lord. The two countries are preparing for war.

Quote: “That by the help of these (with Him above to ratify the work) we may again give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights” – The Lord referring to what they want done.


Act 4, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: Three Witches, Hecate, Macbeth, Apparitions, Ghost of Banquo and Lenox

Location: A dark cave

Time: After Macbeth’s coronation party

Events: Prepping for for Macbeth’s arrival the witches create a magical brew. Hecate arrives and praises the witches on their creation. Macbeth then arrives with lots of questions and doesn’t care about the consequences. The witches call their masters and they com in the form of apparitions. The first apparition is an armoured head that warns Macbeth about Macduff. The second apparition is a bloody child that tells him that he cannot be harmed by a man who has been born from a woman. The third apparition is a child wearing a crown that tells him that he should be courageous and will not be defeated until Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane.  Macbeth is insistent to know whether Banquo’s descendants will ever be kings and the Witches show him a procession of eight kings, following Banquo, the last with a mirror in his hand, indicating the current King.  Lenox comes to report to Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England and Macbeth decides to attack Macduff’s castle and kill his family.        

Quote: “Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.”


Act 4, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: Lady Macduff, Her Son, Rosse, Messenger and Murderers

Location: Fife, a room in Macduff’s castle

Time: After Macbeth’s second visit to the witch

Events: Lady Macduff tells Rosse that Macduff fleeing to england is cowardly and shows that he has no concern for his family. Rosse leaves and Lady Macduff discusses her husband with her son, who doesn’t want to believe that his father is dead. A messnger enters and tells Lady Macduff that she should leave as she is in danger. Before she can leave the murderers enter and kill her and her son.

Quote: “Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. But I remember now I am in the earthly world, where to do harm is often laudable, to do good sometime accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas, do I put up that womanly defence, to say, I have done no harm?” – Lady Macduff


Act 4, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Malcolm, Macduff, English Doctor and Rosse

Location: England  

Time: After the death of Lady Macduff and her children

Events: Macduff goes to England to visit Malcolm. Malcolm is unsure of Macduff’s loyalty, he then pretends to be more sinful than Macbeth to test where Macduff’s loyalty is; he shows no virtues that a king should have. However Macduff is still loyal to Malcolm and believes that he will be still be a better King than Macbeth. Malcolm explains King Edward the Confessor’s powers to cure “the King’s evil.” Rosse arrives to report the latest news from Scotland, saying that good men are planning to rebel against Macbeth. Malcolm then confirms his plans to invade Scotland with the support of an English army. Rosse then breaks the news to Macduff about the murders. Malcolm tries to comfort Macduff, telling him to turn his grief into revenge.
Quote: “I think our country sinks beneath the yoke”


Act 5, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: Doctor, Waiting-Gentlewoman and Lady Macbeth  

Location: Dunsinane, A room in the King’s Castle

Time: After Macduff hears about his wife and children’s death

Events: Lady Macbeth’s Gentlewoman opens up to a doctor about mistress’s odd behaviour while sleepwalking. Lady Macbeth sleep walks in and actions of washing blood off her hands. She then speaks about all the murders.        

Quote: “What’s done cannot be undone” Lady Macbeth


Act 5, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: Menteth, Cathness, Angus, Lenox and Soldiers

Location: The country near Dunsinane

Time: After Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking has been observed

Events: The Scottish army that opposes Macbeth is approaching to Dunsinane; the thanes then discuss Macbeth’s loss of control. As the rebel scots march to Birnam to meet the english. Macbeth receives reports about this but trusts what the witches have told him        
Quote:  “Now does he feel his secret murders sticking on his hands; now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach: Those he commands move only in command, nothing in love: now does he feel his title hang loose around him, like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” – Angus discussing Macbeth’s loss of control and lack of respect.


Act 5, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Macbeth, Doctor, Servant and Seyton

Location: Dunsinane, a room in the castle

Time: As Macbeth receives reports of approaching forces

Events: Malcolm and Macduff lead the english army to meet the rebel scots, this causes Macbeth to question his safety, but he remembers that he can’t die to a man born by a woman. The doctor informs Macbeth that Lady Macbeth is ill in the head. He asks for his armour.        

Quote: “What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug, Would scour these english hence?”








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