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Macbeth
Act 1, scene 4

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 4
Flourish. Enter King Duncan, Lennox, Malcolm,
Donalbain, and Attendants.


DUNCAN 
 Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
 Those in commission yet returned?
MALCOLM  My liege,
 They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
5 With one that saw him die, who did report

27
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 4

 That very frankly he confessed his treasons,
 Implored your Highness’ pardon, and set forth
 A deep repentance. Nothing in his life
 Became him like the leaving it. He died
10 As one that had been studied in his death
 To throw away the dearest thing he owed
 As ’twere a careless trifle.
DUNCAN  There’s no art
 To find the mind’s construction in the face.
15 He was a gentleman on whom I built
 An absolute trust.

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus.

 O worthiest cousin,
 The sin of my ingratitude even now
 Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before
20 That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
 To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
 That the proportion both of thanks and payment
 Might have been mine! Only I have left to say,
 More is thy due than more than all can pay.
MACBETH 
25 The service and the loyalty I owe
 In doing it pays itself. Your Highness’ part
 Is to receive our duties, and our duties
 Are to your throne and state children and servants,
 Which do but what they should by doing everything
30 Safe toward your love and honor.
DUNCAN  Welcome hither.
 I have begun to plant thee and will labor
 To make thee full of growing.—Noble Banquo,
 That hast no less deserved nor must be known
35 No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
 And hold thee to my heart.
BANQUO  There, if I grow,
 The harvest is your own.

29
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 4

DUNCAN  My plenteous joys,
40 Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves
 In drops of sorrow.—Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
 And you whose places are the nearest, know
 We will establish our estate upon
 Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
45 The Prince of Cumberland; which honor must
 Not unaccompanied invest him only,
 But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
 On all deservers.—From hence to Inverness
 And bind us further to you.
MACBETH 
50 The rest is labor which is not used for you.
 I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
 The hearing of my wife with your approach.
 So humbly take my leave.
DUNCAN  My worthy Cawdor.
MACBETH, aside 
55 The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
 On which I must fall down or else o’erleap,
 For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
 Let not light see my black and deep desires.
 The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be
60 Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
He exits.
DUNCAN 
 True, worthy Banquo. He is full so valiant,
 And in his commendations I am fed:
 It is a banquet to me.—Let’s after him,
 Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome.
65 It is a peerless kinsman.
Flourish. They exit.