Set in medieval Scotland. The play opens in an isolated place where three witches are holding a conversation.
They speak of a civil war that is being fought in Scotland, and to the witches, the outcome is known. The witches are waiting
to meet with Macbeth, an honoured General in the Scottish army.
This scene takes place at King Duncan's camp, a fair distance from the actual fighting of the war. A wounded
soldier brings the King the latest reports from the battlefield. The soldier praises the bravery of Macbeth and his fellow
general, Banquo and speaks of their victory over the rebel traitor Macdonwald. During the battles, the Thane of Cawdor (a
Scottish Lord), is found to be a traitor as well. Duncan orders Cawdor's immediate execution and Macbeth is to be granted
In a bleak place, where the witches gather, the topic of discussion is the discomforts that they have been
causing and then prepare a spell for Macbeth. While Macbeth and Banquo are on their way to Forres, they enter the witches'
cave and are surprised to see a group of naked old hags telling the Generals their futures. The witches tell Macbeth that
he will become the Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland. When banquo asks the witches for his future, their
answers are filled with paradox and contradiction. The witches say that Banquo will be both lesser and greater than Macbeth;
not happy, but happier; and that he would father a line of kings. The witches then disappear. While Banquo is skeptical about
the prophecies, Macbeth feels that they are true because he was already the Thane of Glamis, and shortly after he is told
that he has been granted the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth immediately ponders killing Duncan to acquire the position
of king and to make his third prophecy come true, though the idea scares him.
This scene starts with Malcolm, Duncan's son, describing the execution of the tratiorous Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth
enters with Banquo, Ross, and Angus as Duncan and his son are conversing about the former Thane of Cawdor. The King graciously
thanks his generals and promises to reward them with more honours. Duncan then names his son, Malcolm, as his sucsessor to
the throne. To show his gratitude towards Macbeth, Duncan invites himself and the court to visit Macbeth's castle at Inverness.
Macbeth then leaves to prepare for the Royal visit, being shaken up by Duncan's naming of his sucsessor.
Lady Macbeth recieves a letter from her husband telling her of the prophecies and their partial fulfillment.
She is determined that the prophecy of him becoming King will come true, but is worried that Macbeth won't have the guts to
kill for the position. Macbeth arrives and his wife assures him that, at this appropriate time to kill the King, their scheme
will pay off. Lady Macbeth reminds him to hide his true intentions and emotions while the King is present, for anyone can
read Macbeth's face to learn what he is thinking about.
While most scenes in the play portray darkness and evil, this scene takes place in daylight and is located
in a beautiful setting. With the exception of Macbeth, all of the plays major characters are present as Lady Macbeth greets
the King and his court. Duncan is full of complements.
Macbeth leaves the banquet which is in honour of Duncan, for he needs time and privacy to think about his
terrible plan of actions. He wants to become the King, but he doesn't want to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth then arrives and scolds
him for being cowardice and weak. She says that she would rather kill her child than withdraw from a promised agreement. Macbeth
finally agrees to commit the act and Lady Macbeth then fills him in on her plan: she'll get the attendants all drunk, send
Macbeth into the King's chambers to kill him, plant the weapons with the attendants, and go back to bed.
Set in Macbeth's courtyard late at night. Banquo and his son, Fleance, are walking to their bedrooms. Banquo
has a feeling of anxiety towards going to sleep because he fears that he will dream of the witches' prophecies. Macbeth enters
and persuades Banquo to talk about the prophecies with him sometime, although Banquo will not speak of anything disloyal to
Duncan. When Macbeth is left alone in his courtyard, he sees a vision of a dagger. He is confused when he wonders where the
dagger came from. Was it a real dagger, or was it just a vision in his mind? The dagger leads him to Duncan's chamber, at
which time Lady Macbeth rings the bell, signifying that Duncan and his servants are asleep. The time has come for Macbeth
to commit the crime.
In this scene, Lady Macbeth shows that she too is very tense. She required the help of alcohol and admits that
she could not have committed the murder. When Macbeth returns from Duncan's chamber, Lady Macbeth takes control of her distressed
husband. Macbeth is very worried about a sound that he heard, which apparently said, "Macbeth shall sleep no more." At this
point in time, Lady Macbeth realizes that Macbeth is carrying the daggers which he was suposed to plant with the servants.
Being unable to go back to the King's chamber, Macbeth allows Lady Macbeth to return the daggers to their appropriate places.
At the sound of a knocking of the door, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth return to their room and wash the blood off their hands
and change their clothes. Macbeth is concerned about the fact that the blood apparently wasn't coming off his hands.
This scene is the famous "Porter Scene." The castle's porter is awakened by a knocking at the door. He, being
drunk, eventually stumbles his way across the courtyard, he curses Macbeth, saying that Macbeth is the Devil and that he is
the porter of the gate of hell. After the porter stops for a pee, he opens the door to reveal Macduff and Lennox. Duncan had
asked them to come early and wake him up. Macbeth enters, wondering who had been knocking at the door. After Macduff is greeted
by Macbeth, he heads toward the King's chambers. Meanwhile, Lennox is talking about the unnatural disturbances during the
night. Macduff then returns and, in hysteria, announces that Duncan has been murdered. Everyone is awakened by the ringing
of the alarm bell. Macbeth and Lennox go to investigate the scene of the crime and, in seeing the bloody corpses of the servants,
Macbeth admits to have killed the servants in the rage of the death of their King. When Lady Macbeth hears of the murder of
the servants she faints. She wasn't mentally preparing these murders to take place, Macbeth had not told her that he had killed
them. The King's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, silently escape to England because they sensed danger.
In this scene more is learned about the unnatural occurances of the previous night. To add effect to the day
after Duncan was murdered, the sun has not risen. Macduff says to Ross that Malcolm and Donalbain are suspected of killing
their father. He also says that Duncan's body was taken to be buried and that Macbeth was named king. Ross goes back to Fife
to attend Macbeth's ascention, but Macduff decides that it would be better to not go back to Fife because he was afraid that
the changes being made were for the worse.
Macbeth is now living at the royal residence, at Forres. Banquo begins to suspect Macbeth in the murder of
Duncan, but considers staying quiet because he still hopes that his prophecies will come true as they came true for Macbeth.
Macbeth makes a formal entrance with his group and announces that there will be a banquet held for the state at his royal
castle that night. Banquo tells Macbeth that he and Fleance will be out horseback riding until early evening, but he will
be back in time for the banquet. Then Macbeth's court exits, leaving him alone to mainly think about the witches' prophecies
for Banquo. Two hired murderers enter to talk to Macbeth. Macbeth convinces them that Banquo is their nemesis and he deserves
to die. they agree to kill Banquo and his son as they are returning from their ride.
This scene begins with Lady Macbeth expressing her unhappiness with the situation but, when Macbeth enters,
she goes back to being the backbone of the whole scheme. It is here where we learn about the lack of sleep, the nightmares,
and the loss of appetite that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are suffering from. But they must hide their emotions and mental
states to be happy and welcoming for their banquet. Macbeth tells his wife that he has made some drastic decisions, but refuses
to tell her any details.
The two murderers wait for Banquo and Fleance to return form their ride in the early evening. The two murderers
are joined by a third who has apparently been sent by Macbeth, who fails to trust anyone at this point in time. When Banquo
and his son return, one of the three murderers holds a torch while the other two stab Banquo. In the rush of the moment, Fleance
escapes into the darkness.
As the guests arrive at the castle, they are formally welcomed by the Macbeths. Just as Macbeth gets ready
to drink to their health, one of the murderers appears at the door. The murderer tells him that Fleance escaped. Macbeth is
not pleased with this news, but just as he is about to express his emotions, he is called back by Lady Macbeth to perform
his duties as the host. As he joins his guests, he comments on how disappointed his is that Banquo is not present. Just then,
as Macbeth is going to sit down at a table, the ghost of Banquo sits on the seat that Macbeth was about to sit on. Macbeth,
in the eyes of the guests, is crazy. He is apparently speaking about nothing because nobody else can see the ghost but him.
Lady Macbeth attempts to calm him, trying to make him return to his senses and to his being the host. When the ghost disappears,
Macbeth blames his actions on his poor health. Now the collected host in honor of Banquo, but just as he says this the ghost
reappears. Macbeth can't handle it and Lady Macbeth orders all the guests to leave in any order.
In this scene we are introduced to Hecate, the queen of the witches. she is angered at the three witches for
not involving her in the business of the new King. In knowing that Macbeth will visit them the next morning, Hecate plans
to lead Macbeth to his downfall by making him feel over-confident in himself.
In this scene Lennox and another lord are discussing the crimes that they now believe Macbeth is responsible
for. They also discuss new developments in the situation. One being that Macduff and part of the Scottish army has joined
with England in an attempt to overthrow Macbethfrom his position.
The witches are dancing and chanting around a cauldron, making a spell. Macbeth enters thier cave, demanding
that his questions be answered. The witches then decide to give him what he wants. The prophecies, this time, are spoken by
appartions. They are as follows: a head wearing a battle helmet, a blood-covered child, and a child wearing a crown and carrying
a tree. The witched tell Macbeth to watch out for Macduff, that he will not be killed by anyone born of women, and that he
need not worry untill the Burnam Wood move towards his castle. As happened in the first predictions, the first was correct
so Macbeth felt that his future was secure, but is still a bit worried about Banquo's decendents. The witches would not answer,
danced around, then disapeared.
In this scene, Lady Macduff is visited at her castle by her relative, Ross. He is trying to explain that the
reason Macduff went to England was valid. She does beleive her cousin, she feels that her and her children are very vulnerable,
and her husband should be there. Then murderers come in just as Ross leaves, stab the child and pursue the screaming Lady
Macduff arives at eh court of Edward the Confesser, King of England. Then he meets with Malcolm, and tries
to convince him that they should prepare to attack Scotland. But Malcolm does not trust Macduff, and is worried that he was
sent there only to kill Malcolm. Malcolm tests Macduff by saying that he would be a much worse king than Macbeth, saying that
he was corrupt, greedy, lecherous and vicious. Just as Macduff is ready to leave in discust, Malcolm tells him the difference.
Malcolm reveals that a force of 10,000 men is ready to invade Scotland. Everyone is happy. Then Ross arives from Scotland
and speaks of worsening news. When asked about his family, Macduff was horrified to hear of the murder of his family. He then
vows that he will be the one to kill Macbeth.
The Macbeths have moved to Dunsinane Castle, likely because it is on a hill, where they are able to see further
into the distance. As Lady Macbeth is going quite mad, a doctor has been employed to watch over her full time. The Lady has
been seen sleepwalking, always with a candle in hand, she then writes on paper, and lockes it away. The nurse refuses to repeat
what she has heard so she makes the doctor stay up and see for himself. When the doctor see's her, he states that there is
nothing that he can do, and that they should watch her even more closely, for she may be suicidal.
Scenes 2 and 3
Menteith, Caithness, Angus, and Lennox, Scottish nobles are on their to Birnam Wood near Dunsinane to join
with the English forces and their leaders, Malcolm, Macduff and Siward. They are each prepared to die for their causes. Back
at Dunsinane Castle, eveyone has deserted Macbeth but his servants, who are forced to stay. He recieves the news that the
forces are on their way to attack. Macbeth is still pretty confidant for her knows that he will not be killed by anyone being
born of women, he reassures that by remembering that he is not to worry until the Burnam Woods get up and walk towards his
Scenes 4, 5, and 6
The Scotish and Englis army have come together and they decide to each cut down a branch and carry it with
them, while they march to Dunsinane. In the mean time, Macbeth is still confidant that his castle will be fine. Later on he
hears that his wife has killed herself. Then a messanger comes to tell Macbeth that it looked like the Birnam Woods are walking
towards that castle. On their arrival to the castle, Malcolm orders the soldiers to throw down their camouflage of brances
and to start their fighting.
Scenes 7 and 8
This scene takes place on the battlefield, Macbeth feels very scared, yet still is holding on to the third
prophacy. He has an easy victory over young Siward and that boosts his confidance. Meanwhile, Macduff is looking around for
Macbeth. Finally, the two meet. Macbeth does not want to fight anymore, he feels very bad for all ready have killing so many
people. At this point he is positive that he will not be killed. Then Macduff reveals that he was born by caesarian section
and thus he was not technically born of women. Macbeth finally realizes that the witches have been using equivocation. He
still refuses to yield, and this time he fight to the end.