List iconMacbeth:
Act 4, scene 1
List icon

Act 4, scene 1



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 1
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.

 Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.
 Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.
 Harpier cries “’Tis time, ’tis time!”
 Round about the cauldron go;
5 In the poisoned entrails throw.
 Toad, that under cold stone
 Days and nights has thirty-one
 Sweltered venom sleeping got,
 Boil thou first i’ th’ charmèd pot.
The Witches circle the cauldron.
10 Double, double toil and trouble;
 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
 Fillet of a fenny snake
 In the cauldron boil and bake.
 Eye of newt and toe of frog,
15 Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
 Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,

ACT 4. SC. 1

 Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
 For a charm of powerful trouble,
 Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
20 Double, double toil and trouble;
 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
 Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
 Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf
 Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
25 Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
 Liver of blaspheming Jew,
 Gall of goat and slips of yew
 Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
 Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
30 Finger of birth-strangled babe
 Ditch-delivered by a drab,
 Make the gruel thick and slab.
 Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron
 For th’ ingredience of our cauldron.
35 Double, double toil and trouble;
 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
 Cool it with a baboon’s blood.
 Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter Hecate to the other three Witches.

 O, well done! I commend your pains,
40 And everyone shall share i’ th’ gains.
 And now about the cauldron sing
 Like elves and fairies in a ring,
 Enchanting all that you put in.
Music and a song: Black Spirits, etc. Hecate exits.

ACT 4. SC. 1

 By the pricking of my thumbs,
45 Something wicked this way comes.
 Open, locks,
 Whoever knocks.

Enter Macbeth.

 How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?
 What is ’t you do?
ALL 50 A deed without a name.
 I conjure you by that which you profess
 (Howe’er you come to know it), answer me.
 Though you untie the winds and let them fight
 Against the churches, though the yeasty waves
55 Confound and swallow navigation up,
 Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown
 Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,
 Though palaces and pyramids do slope
60 Their heads to their foundations, though the
 Of nature’s germens tumble all together
 Even till destruction sicken, answer me
 To what I ask you.
THIRD WITCH  We’ll answer.
 Say if th’ hadst rather hear it from our mouths
 Or from our masters’.
MACBETH 70 Call ’em. Let me see ’em.
 Pour in sow’s blood that hath eaten
 Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten

ACT 4. SC. 1

 From the murderers’ gibbet throw
 Into the flame.
ALL 75 Come high or low;
 Thyself and office deftly show.

Thunder. First Apparition, an Armed Head.

 Tell me, thou unknown power—
FIRST WITCH  He knows thy
80 Hear his speech but say thou naught.
 Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff!
 Beware the Thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough.
He descends.
 Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.
 Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word
85 more—
 He will not be commanded. Here’s another
 More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition, a Bloody Child.

SECOND APPARITION Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—
MACBETH Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.
90 Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn
 The power of man, for none of woman born
 Shall harm Macbeth.He descends.
 Then live, Macduff; what need I fear of thee?
 But yet I’ll make assurance double sure
95 And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,
 That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
 And sleep in spite of thunder.

ACT 4. SC. 1

Thunder. Third Apparition, a Child Crowned, with a tree
in his hand.

 What is this
 That rises like the issue of a king
100 And wears upon his baby brow the round
 And top of sovereignty?
ALL Listen but speak not to ’t.
 Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
 Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.
105 Macbeth shall never vanquished be until
 Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
 Shall come against him.He descends.
MACBETH  That will never be.
 Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
110 Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements, good!
 Rebellious dead, rise never till the Wood
 Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
 Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
 To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
115 Throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art
 Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever
 Reign in this kingdom?
ALL  Seek to know no more.
 I will be satisfied. Deny me this,
120 And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know!
Cauldron sinks. Hautboys.
 Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?
125 Show his eyes and grieve his heart.
 Come like shadows; so depart.

ACT 4. SC. 1

A show of eight kings, the eighth king with a glass in
his hand, and Banquo last.

 Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down!
 Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,
 Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
130 A third is like the former.—Filthy hags,
 Why do you show me this?—A fourth? Start, eyes!
 What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom?
 Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more.
 And yet the eighth appears who bears a glass
135 Which shows me many more, and some I see
 That twofold balls and treble scepters carry.
 Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true,
 For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me
 And points at them for his.
The Apparitions disappear.
140 What, is this so?
 Ay, sir, all this is so. But why
 Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
 Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites
 And show the best of our delights.
145 I’ll charm the air to give a sound
 While you perform your antic round,
 That this great king may kindly say
 Our duties did his welcome pay.
Music. The Witches dance and vanish.
 Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
150 Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!—
 Come in, without there.

Enter Lennox.

LENNOX  What’s your Grace’s will?

ACT 4. SC. 1

 Saw you the Weïrd Sisters?
LENNOX  No, my lord.
155 Came they not by you?
LENNOX  No, indeed, my lord.
 Infected be the air whereon they ride,
 And damned all those that trust them! I did hear
 The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?
160 ’Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
 Macduff is fled to England.
MACBETH  Fled to England?
LENNOX Ay, my good lord.
MACBETH, aside 
 Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.
165 The flighty purpose never is o’ertook
 Unless the deed go with it. From this moment
 The very firstlings of my heart shall be
 The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
 To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and
170 done:
 The castle of Macduff I will surprise,
 Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword
 His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
 That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
175 This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.
 But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?
 Come bring me where they are.
They exit.