This is a scene-by-scene summary of Macbeth including important quotes that with the new 9-1 grading system, you have to learn! These aren’t necessarily all the quotes etc you need to know, just a little refresher for revision.
Act 1, Scene 1
- 3 witches are meeting on a stormy hill, they are going to meet Macbeth
- "Fair is foul and foul is fair"
Act 1, Scene 2
- Duncan, Malcolm and Captain are talking about how amazing Macbeth was in battle
- "For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)" "valiant cousin" "worthy gentleman" "unseamed him him from the nave to th' chops"
- Macbeth & Banquo are a good team, “as cannons overcharged with double cracks” “so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe”
- Decided Macbeth shall be Thane of Cawdor, “What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won”
Act 1, Scene 3
- Witches meeting again. One of the witches wanted a chestnut from a woman who wouldn't let her so they put the ship through a storm. Reference to James I belief that his boat was cursed by witches when caught in a tempest
- "A drum, a drum: Macbeth doth come." Macbeth and Banquo arrive.
- Macbeth says “so foul and fair a day I have not seen” reference to “fair is foul and foul is fair” from first scene
- Banquo believes they are women but thinks they look like men "You should be women,/ And yet your beards forbid me to interpret/ That you are so”, reference to the fact that men would’ve played them in the theatre
- Macbeth demands they speak and they give him 3 Prophecies: All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!" (Already is) "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!" "All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter!"
- Banquo thinks it’s a little too good to be true and asks if they can see the future before demanding they “Speak then to me”
- Banquo Prophecies: “Lesser than Macbeth, and Greater”, “Not so happy, yet much happier”, “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.”
- Macbeth is confused at the “imperfect speakers” and demands to know more of this “strange intelligence” and “prophetic greeting” and says “Speak, I charge you.” But they vanish.
- Ross & Angus arrive to inform Macbeth he is now Thane of Cawdor and Macbeth & Banquo agree that that is strange
- Macbeth wonders about the witches’ “supernatutal soliciting” and decides it “Cannot be ill; cannot be good”, if ill why has it brought him “success” and if good why does it “make my seated heart knock against my ribs/ Against the use of nature?” Against nature, natural order, Great Chain of Being
Act 1, Scene 4
- Malcolm tells Duncan that the Thane of Cawdor confessed his treason and begged for forgiveness before death
- Macbeth enters and Duncan graciously thanks Macbeth for his services in battle, “worthiest cousin”
- Duncan names Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland and therefore next in line for the throne, “nobleness like stars shine”
- Macbeth acknowledges that…