Macbeth Quotes and Summaries- Act 4

Macbeth Act 4 Quotes and Summaries with extra context and analysis. 

  • Created by: Soka12
  • Created on: 21-04-14 15:19

Act 4 Scene 1

-Witches make a charm.

-Macbeth seeks out the Witches, sees the apparitions and is filled with confidence.

-He is told about Macduff fleeing to England, decides to murder his family.


'No man of woman born'- The Witches tell him that he cannot be harmed by anyone born of a woman, so Macbeth doesn't fear Macduff (Learn later on that Macduff was a C-section baby).

The line of Kings produced by the Witches appear to 'stretch out to th' crack of doom'- all of Banquo's line.

Apparition 1- Advises him to beware Macduff.

Apparition 2- He cannot be harmed by a man of woman born.

Apparition 3- The line of Banquo's descendents. 

AO4- The eight kings shown are ancestors of King James, from Banquo's line down to his grandfather.

1 of 4

Act 4 Scene 2

-Ross tells Lady Macduff her husband has gone to England, she fears he's left her unprotected.

-Finds his desertion hard to justify, discusses it with her young son.

-Stranger arrives and warns them to escape.

-Lady Macduff and her son are murdered. 


Lady Macduff's son is brave calling the first murderer 'shag-haired villain'.

'Run away, I pray you'- He cries out to his mother, showing he thinks of protecting his mother, murder of a kind child fills the audience with horror.

AO2- The murder of Lady Macduff and her son when they are portrayed as pathetically vunerable shows Macbeth as a tyrant.

AO3- Lady Macduff states that her husband lacks the instinct to protect his family. Could argue a woman's assault on her husband is tragic because it's true.

2 of 4

Act 4 Scene 3

-Malcolm and Macduff meet at the English King's court. 

-Malcolm is suspicious of Macduff and tests him.

-Macduff is informed that an army is ready to fight against Macbeth, learns of the slaughter of his family and vows revenge.


'O Scotland, Scotland!'- Macduff's patriotism for his country. (AO4-Scotland was often at war with England)

'I am not treacherous'- Macduff forced to defend himself against Malcolm.

In contrast with 'Black Macbeth' we have Edward who is 'Full of grace'

'Bring...this fiend  of Scotland'- Macduff wants kill Macbeth even more since the death of his family.

AO2- Dramatic irony when Macduff talks about the horrors of Macbeth's reign when he is not aware of the brutal murder of his family.

3 of 4

Act 4 Scene 3 Continued

'Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root'- Macduff is worried about Malcolm's greed.

Malcolm echoes Lady Macbeth ('the babe that milks me' & 'milk of human-kindness) when he says 'had I power, I should/ Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell'- Milk symbolising innocence, Malcolm threatens to replace human decency with anarchy- he is testing Macduff. 

AO4- In his historic plays Shakespeare dwells on the consequences of civil war, the murder of a young child is a reminder of this

AO2- The verse is not dynamic, the rhythm is unpronounced and the verse does not draw attention. Each man counteracts the other's previous sentence. The audience is made to listen to the arguement without being distracted. 

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Macbeth resources »