Act I Summary
Act I. sc. I
Setting: deserted heath; storming
- Three witches chant
- First witch asks when the three witches will meet again.
- Second witch answers that they will meet after the battle
- Third witch says they'll meet Macbeth tonight.
- They all cackle that things are not as they seem and fly
Act I. sc. II
Setting: army camp near King Duncan's castle
- A sergeant comes from the battle to report to King Duncan
how the war is going
- The sergeant reports that at first the victor was in
- The sergeant says that the rebel, McDonwald, seemed to
be winning till brave Macbeth split him open
- The sergeant continues saying that no sooner was this
battle won and then the lord of Norway attacked with an
- Ross says that Norway was assisted by the traitor, Thane
of Cawdor, but both were defeated by Macbeth.
- King Duncan announces he will kill the traitor Cawdor and
give his land and title to Macbeth as a reward for his
Act I. sc. III
Setting: abandoned heath
- First witch tell others she has cursed a man because his
wife would not give him her chestnuts.
- The man will be lost at sea, have no sleep, and become
very weak, but will not die.
- Witches chant.
- Macbeth and Banquo question the reality of the witches.
- First witch says that Macbeth is Thane of Glamis.
- Second witch says Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor.
- Third witch prophesies that Macbeth will be king.
- Banquo asks to be told his fortune.
- First witch prophesies that Banquo will be "Lesser
than Macbeth and greater."
- Second witch prophesies that Banquo will be "not so
happy, yet much happier" than Macbeth.
- Third witch prophesies than Banquo will father kings but
not be one.
- Witches hail Macbeth and Banquo.
- Witches vanish.
- Ross greets Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor.
- Ross tells Macbeth and Banquo that the current thane of
Cawdor has been sentenced to death because he is a
- Macbeth begins to think of killing King Duncan.
- Macbeth decides not to do anything, other than his usual
routine, in order to get the crown.
- Macbeth and Banquo will meet later to chat.
Act I. sc. IV
Setting: King Duncan, in his castle, awaits news
- King Duncan asks if the Thane of Cawdor has been
executed. Malcolm, his son, responds that he heard he is
dead and that he died with much dignity, even more than
with which he lived. The Thane of Cawdor confessed his
treason and asked for pardon but it was not given to him.
- King Duncan reflects than one cannot read people's
thoughts on their face. Before treason he fully trusted
the Thane of Cawdor.
- Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus enter the room. Duncan
greet Macbeth, calling him his worthiest cousin, and
saying that thanks and recompense are not enough to pay
for all he did in battle. The king also greets and
- Macbeth responds to the king's greeting by confessing
that to be loyal and serve him is enough payment.
- King Duncan announces that Malcolm, his son, is to be
future king and names him Prince of Cumberland. Also, the
king tells Macbeth that the royal family is going to
Inverness. Macbeth departs before they do to prepare for
- Aside to himself Macbeth feels he must destroy Malcolm
because he stands in his way to being king.
Act I. sc. V
Setting: Lady Macbeth enters Inverness reading a letter
- In the following letter Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth what
- Macbeth says that the three witches that meet him
and Banquo (after winning the battle) have supernatural
powers. The witches vanished into the air when he wanted
to ask them something and he stood amazed. After the
witches vanished Duncan's Messenger came greeting him as
Thane of Cawdor. The three Weirs Sisters or witches had
already called him Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth tells Lady
Macbeth that he sends her this letter so that she can
know what is in store for them. He also tells her to keep
these news to herself.
- Lady Macbeth says to herself that Macbeth deserves to not
only be the Thane of Glamis but of Cawdor also. She is
afraid that Macbeth's tender heart can get in the way of
her plans to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth highlights that
Macbeth has the ambition to be great but that he wants to
win the king's position by righteous ways.
- A messenger tells Lady Macbeth that Duncan is going to
Inverness that night.
- The messenger confirms to Lady Macbeth that Macbeth is on
his way to Inverness. He made it quicker to Inverness
that Macbeth in order to deliver the news that Duncan was
- Lady Macbeth asks for the night and sky to be dark so
that Heaven cannot see what is happening.
- Macbeth enters and confirms to Lady Macbeth that King
Duncan is on his way. She asks him when Duncan is to
leave Inverness and Macbeth responds tomorrow. Lady
Macbeth the exclaims that he shall never leave or see the
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to be like the innocent flower
without but like the serpent within.
- Lady Macbeth says he should not waste the opportunity of
being king now that he can, and to leave everything to
Act I. sc. VI
Setting: the surrounding outside atmosphere of Inverness,
Macbeth's castle, around summertime
- King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff,
Ross, Angus, and Attendants are outside Inverness.
- Duncan comments that the location of Inverness is
pleasant and that the clear and sweet air that flows
around Inverness appeals to him. This is ironic because
he is going to be betrayed by Macbeth who will kill him;
(theme: appearance vs. reality).
- Lady Macbeth cynically responds that if whatever Macbeth
and she could do for the King (Duncan) could be doubled
or increased then they both would double it.
- Lady Macbeth says that in serving the King, Macbeth and
she partially thank him. The past favors and the honors
that Macbeth has earned are greater in value that the
services that they have to offer the King (theme:
appearance vs. reality).
- Duncan asks where the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth, is and
notices that his great love and disposition to serve
helped Macbeth get to Inverness before he did.
- Duncan calls Lady Macbeth fair and noble (theme:
appearance vs. reality) and tells her that Malcolm,
Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus,
Attendants, and he will be her overnight guests.
- Lady Macbeth tells Duncan that Macbeth and she, her
servants, and all that Macbeth and she possess are at his
- Duncan tells Lady Macbeth to give him her hand and take
him to Macbeth. He also says that he loves Macbeth and
will continue to favor him.
Act 1. sc. VII
Setting: Hautboys with torches, a Sewer, and servants
scurry about Macbeth's Castle.
- If the assassination is done and if it were done well,
and quickly, then all of Macbeth's ambitions could come
- Macbeth said that he would like for the rest of his life
with the guilt of him killing Duncan.
- But there are three reasons why Macbeth feels he
shouldn't kill Duncan.
- First Macbeth is Duncan's kinsman, Macbeth serves
the king because that is his place in the world.
- Second, Macbeth said that he would not be
honorable if he doesn't kill Duncan himself, face
- Third, Duncan is so loved by the people and the
world that the whole world would weep his death.
- Last, Macbeth has no will to be King, only
ambition, that accomplishes nothing but pain and
- Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he will not kill Duncan.
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that if he were a real man
then he would kill Duncan to be King, she call's him a
coward for not trying.
- Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he is not afraid to do
everything that he needs to do to become a man but to
kill another man just for the case of ambition is going
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he was a man when he
decided to kill Duncan and now he is less of a man.
- Lady Macbeth also said that Macbeth doesn't care about
her because he doesn't want the best things for her and
their children (assuming they have some, which isn't
indicated in the story, or she could also be referring to
the children that they are going to have)
- Macbeth is concerned if they get caught.
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that if they fail, they fail,
but if they don't try, then neither one of them will know
if they could have pulled it off and rule Scotland.
- Macbeth starts saying, " Well if we can somehow get
the guards blamed for it." He is starting to
consider doing it.
- Lady Macbeth said that there isn't anyone else in the
kingdom that will be able to contest Macbeth's claim on
- Macbeth agrees with Lady Macbeth, and the two begin
planning how they will kill Duncan.