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Macbeth
Act 1, scene 2

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Macbeth, set primarily in Scotland, mixes witchcraft, prophecy, and murder. Three “Weïrd Sisters” appear to Macbeth and his comrade Banquo…

Act 1, scene 1

Three witches plan to meet Macbeth.

Act 1, scene 2

Duncan, king of Scotland, hears an account of the success in battle of his noblemen Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan orders…

Act 1, scene 3

The three witches greet Macbeth as “Thane of Glamis” (as he is), “Thane of Cawdor,” and “king hereafter.” They then…

Act 1, scene 4

Duncan demands and receives assurances that the former thane of Cawdor has been executed. When Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus…

Act 1, scene 5

Lady Macbeth reads her husband’s letter about his meeting the witches. She fears that Macbeth lacks the ruthlessness he needs…

Act 1, scene 6

Duncan and his attendants arrive at Inverness. Lady Macbeth welcomes them.

Act 1, scene 7

Macbeth contemplates the reasons why it is a terrible thing to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth mocks his fears and offers…

Act 2, scene 1

Banquo, who has accompanied Duncan to Inverness, is uneasy because he too is tempted by the witches’ prophecies, although only…

Act 2, scene 2

Lady Macbeth waits anxiously for Macbeth to return from killing Duncan. When Macbeth enters, he is horrified by what he…

Act 2, scene 3

A drunken porter, answering the knocking at the gate, plays the role of a devil-porter at the gates of hell….

Act 2, scene 4

An old man and Ross exchange accounts of recent unnatural happenings. Macduff joins them to report that Malcolm and Donalbain…

Act 3, scene 1

Banquo suspects that Macbeth killed Duncan in order to become king. Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast that night. Banquo…

Act 3, scene 2

Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth express their unhappiness. Macbeth speaks of his fear of Banquo especially. He refers to a…

Act 3, scene 3

A third man joins the two whom Macbeth has already sent to kill Banquo and Fleance. The three assassins manage…

Act 3, scene 4

As Macbeth’s banquet begins, one of Banquo’s murderers appears at the door to tell Macbeth of Banquo’s death and Fleance’s…

Act 3, scene 5

The presentation of the witches in this scene (as in 4.1.38 SD–43 and 141–48) differs from their presentation in the…

Act 3, scene 6

Lennox and an unnamed lord discuss politics in Scotland. Lennox comments sarcastically upon Macbeth’s “official” versions of the many recent…

Act 4, scene 1

Macbeth approaches the witches to learn how to make his kingship secure. In response they summon for him three apparitions:…

Act 4, scene 2

Ross visits Lady Macduff and tries to justify to her Macduff’s flight to England, a flight that leaves his family…

Act 4, scene 3

Macduff finds Malcolm at the English court and urges him to attack Macbeth at once. Malcolm suspects that Macduff is…

Act 5, scene 1

A gentlewoman who waits on Lady Macbeth has seen her walking in her sleep and has asked a doctor’s advice….

Act 5, scene 2

A Scottish force, in rebellion against Macbeth, marches toward Birnam Wood to join Malcolm and his English army.

Act 5, scene 3

Reports are brought to Macbeth of the Scottish and English forces massed against him. He seeks assurance in the apparitions’…

Act 5, scene 4

The rebel Scottish forces have joined Malcolm’s army at Birnam Wood. Malcolm orders each soldier to cut down and carry…

Act 5, scene 5

Macbeth is confident that he can withstand any siege from Malcolm’s forces. He is then told of Lady Macbeth’s death…

Act 5, scene 6

Malcolm arrives with his troops before Dunsinane Castle.

Act 5, scene 7

On the battlefield Macbeth kills young Siward, the son of the English commander. After Macbeth exits, Macduff arrives in search…

Act 5, scene 8

Macduff finds Macbeth, who is reluctant to fight with him because Macbeth has already killed Macduff’s whole family and is…

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Scene 2
Alarum within. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm,
Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding
Captain.


DUNCAN 
 What bloody man is that? He can report,
 As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
 The newest state.
MALCOLM  This is the sergeant
5 Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought
 ’Gainst my captivity.—Hail, brave friend!
 Say to the King the knowledge of the broil
 As thou didst leave it.
CAPTAIN Doubtful it stood,
10 As two spent swimmers that do cling together
 And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald
 (Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
 The multiplying villainies of nature
 Do swarm upon him) from the Western Isles
15 Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
 And Fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
 Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak;
 For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name),
 Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,
20 Which smoked with bloody execution,
 Like Valor’s minion, carved out his passage
 Till he faced the slave;
 Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
 Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops,
25 And fixed his head upon our battlements.
DUNCAN 
 O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!
CAPTAIN 
 As whence the sun ’gins his reflection
 Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,

11
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 2

 So from that spring whence comfort seemed to
30 come
 Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark:
 No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
 Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
 But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
35 With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
 Began a fresh assault.
DUNCAN 
 Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and
 Banquo?
CAPTAIN 
 Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
40 If I say sooth, I must report they were
 As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
 So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
 Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds
 Or memorize another Golgotha,
45 I cannot tell—
 But I am faint. My gashes cry for help.
DUNCAN 
 So well thy words become thee as thy wounds:
 They smack of honor both.—Go, get him surgeons.
The Captain is led off by Attendants.

Enter Ross and Angus.

 Who comes here?
MALCOLM 50 The worthy Thane of Ross.
LENNOX 
 What a haste looks through his eyes!
 So should he look that seems to speak things
 strange.
ROSS God save the King.
DUNCAN 55Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane?
ROSS From Fife, great king,
 Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky

13
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And fan our people cold.
 Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
60 Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,
 The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
 Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapped in proof,
 Confronted him with self-comparisons,
 Point against point, rebellious arm ’gainst arm,
65 Curbing his lavish spirit. And to conclude,
 The victory fell on us.
DUNCAN  Great happiness!
ROSS That now Sweno,
 The Norways’ king, craves composition.
70 Nor would we deign him burial of his men
 Till he disbursèd at Saint Colme’s Inch
 Ten thousand dollars to our general use.
DUNCAN 
 No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
 Our bosom interest. Go, pronounce his present
75 death,
 And with his former title greet Macbeth.
ROSS I’ll see it done.
DUNCAN 
 What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
They exit.