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Scene by Scene Synopsis

Scene:  Scotland and England.

Act I, Scene 1 The three Witches meet during a storm and declare their intention to encounter Macbeth.

Act I, Scene 2:  The wounded Sergeant tells King Duncan and his son Malcolm of the bravery of Macbeth and Banquo in battle against rebels led by the Thane of Cawdor and Rosse arrives and with the news that they’ve won and Cawdor has surrendered.  He also reports of Macbeth’s prowess in battle. The King orders them to see that Cawdor is put to death and Macbeth receive Cawdor’s title.

Act I, Scene 3:  The Witches gather and boast of their evil deeds.  Macbeth and Banquo encounter them, and they address Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and as the future king. They also declare that though Banquo will not be king, his descendants will rule. The Witches disappear despite Macbeth's pleas for more information Rosse and Angus arrive and inform Macbeth that he is now the Thane of Cawdor. Banquo and Macbeth are stunned by this confirmation of part of the Witches' prophecy. Macbeth muses to himself on his ambition to be king, which has been strengthened by these

Act I, Scene 4 King Duncan praises Macbeth greatly and tells him that he wishes to visit his castle at Inverness. Duncan also announces that when he dies, Malcolm shall inherit the throne. Macbeth volunteers to travel ahead and prepare to receive the king; he reflects to himself that his ambition to be king is hindered by Malcolm's new status.

Act I, Scene 5:  Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband that^ of the Witches' prophecy and its partial fulfillment She is delighted, but fears that Macbeth's emotional weakness will prevent him from becoming king Word arrives of Duncan's approach, and Lady Macbeth exults in this unexpected opportunity to kill Duncan. Macbeth arrives, and he is less enthusiastic, but she declares spiritedly that she will take charge of the murder.

Act I, Scene 6 Lady Macbeth greets King Duncan courteously on his arrival at Inverness. 

Act I, Scene 7 Macbeth worries about his fate in the afterlife if he becomes a murderer. Lady Macbeth mocks him and fiercely stirs his ambition with the fury other own He declares that he will go ahead with the murder.

Act II. Scene 1 Banquo and Macbeth speak briefly of the Witches Macbeth discounts their importance as Banquo warns of the temptations that might arise from their prophecies. Left alone, Macbeth sees a hallucination of a bloody dagger. He acknowledges that he is horrified at the prospect of murdering the king, but he forces himself to proceed.

Act II, Scene 2:  Lady Macbeth has drugged the king's guards, and she awaits Macbeth's return. He comes to report that he has killed Duncan, but he is fearful of divine punishment because when he heard Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain praying he could not say 'Amen' to himself. He also says he heard a voice that predicted that he would never again be able to sleep. Lady Macbeth upbraids him because he has brought the bloody daggers with him instead of leaving them in the hands of the guards, as they had planned. She goes to complete the deed, and as she returns they hear a knock at the castle entry. She insists that they must go to bed and pretend they have been asleep.

Act II, Scene 3The knocking continues as a drunken amuses himself with the pretence that he is the door-keeper of hell. He finally admits Macduff and Lenox, and Macbeth arrives to greet them. He pretends to have been awakened by their arrival. Macduff goes to greet the king, while Lenox tells Macbeth of the night's violent and ominous storm. Macduff reappears and cries that the king has been murdered; he raises the alarm as Macbeth runs to the king's chamber. Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Malcolm, and Donalbain arrive in great confusion. Macbeth returns and reports that in his fury at the murder he has killed the guards, who he says are the murderers. As the group departs to dress and meet again, Malcolm and Donalbain confer. They fear that they will be suspected of the murder. They also fear for their lives, and they decide to flee the country.

Act II, Scene 4:  An old man tells Rosse of the strange omens that had preceded the king's death. Macduff reports that the Night of Malcolm and Donalbain has convinced everyone of their guilt and that Macbeth is to be crowned as Duncan's successor.

Act III, Scene 1:  Banquo, alone, voices his suspicion that Macbeth killed Duncan, and he reflects on the Witches' prophecy that his own heirs will rule. Macbeth, now the king, arrives. He learns that Banquo proposes to go horseback riding with his son Fleance, and he insists that they return in time for the evening meal. Banquo leaves and Macbeth plans his murder, lest the Witches' prophecy come true. He sends for the First Murderer and his companion and arranges for them to kill Banquo and Fleance as the victims return from riding.

Act III, Scene 2: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth discuss the danger Banquo presents, and Macbeth darkly hints at the plot he has set in motion.

Act III, Scene 3:  The two Murderers, joined by a third murderer—sent by Macbeth—attack Banquo and Fleance. Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes.

Act III, Scene 4:  The First Murderer reports to Macbeth during a banquet. When the king returns to his guests, the Ghost of Banquo appears and sits in his chair. No one sees it but Macbeth, who reacts with horror. Lady Macbeth tells the guests that he is suffering from an old illness, and when the Ghost disappears, Macbeth recovers. But it soon reappears and evokes a strong response from Macbeth; the banquet is disrupted and the nobles leave. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he will consult the Witches, to learn of all possible threats.

Act III, Scene 5 Hecate chastises the Witches because they have not included her in their dealings with Macbeth. She tells them that they must prepare especially potent spells to delude Macbeth when he consults them.

Act III, Scene 6:  Lenox and another Lord discuss the suspicious deaths of Duncan and Banquo, the exiled Malcolm's support from the King of England, and Mac duff's defection to his cause. They hope for aid from England against Macbeth.

Act IV, Scene 1:  The Witches and Hecate cast spells, and Hecate departs as Macbeth arrives. The Witches summon three APPARITIONS to answer Macbeth's questions. The first, an armed head, warns Macbeth against Macduff; the second, a bloody child, declares that no man born of a woman can harm him; the third, a crowned child, assures him that he will not be conquered until the forest at Birnam marches to Dunsinane. Macbeth concludes that he is certain of continued success. Macbeth asks if Banquo's descendants shall ever rule Scotland.  A parade of eight KINGS appears, escorted by Banquo's Ghost, which smilingly indicates that these are his offspring. The apparitions and Witches disappear. Lenox brings news of Macduff's desertion, and Macbeth decides he will kill all of Macduff's family and followers, as punishment.

Act IV, Scene 2 Lady Macduff bemoans her husband's departure. She tells her SON (1) that his father is dead, but the clever boy realises this isn't true, and engages his mother in a humorous exchange. A Messenger appears, quickly delivers a warning of their imminent danger, and flees. The Murderers appear, kill the boy, and chase his mother as she attempts to escape.

Act IV, Scene 3In England, Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty to Scotland. He pretends to confess to extreme depravity, and when Macduff mourns for his country, Malcolm knows he is a true patriot. Rosse brings the news that Macbeth has slaughtered Macduff's family. Macduff vows revenge, and he and Malcolm prepare to launch an army against Macbeth.

Act V, Scene 1:  Observed by a Gentlewoman and a Doctor Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep and raves about the blood on her hands. She mentions the murders of Duncan, Lady Macduff, and Banquo.

Act V, Scene 2: A group of Scottish rebels against Macbeth speak of the approaching English army led by Malcolm, Macduff, and Siward. They prepare to rendezvous at Birnam Wood, near the castle at Dunsinane where Macbeth has established his defense.

Act V, Scene 3:  Macbeth boasts that he does not fear the invaders because of the assurances of the Apparitions. The Doctor reports that Lady Macbeth is troubled by hallucinations, which he cannot cure. Macbeth rejects him angrily.

Act V, Scene 4: Malcolm orders that each of his soldiers, assembled at Birnam Wood, shall carry a branch cut from a tree to provide camouflage and confuse the enemy as to their numbers.

Act V, Scene 5 Seyton reports to Macbeth, on the castle walls, that Lady Macbeth is dead. Macbeth laments the nature of life. His Messenger arrives and reports that, unbelievably, Birnam Wood appears to be moving towards the castle. Macbeth recognizes the danger predicted in the Apparition's prophecy, but he declares himself ready to die.

Act V, Scene 6:  Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff approach the castle.

Act V, Scene 7:  Macbeth fights Young Siward, kills him, and leaves to fight elsewhere. Macduff appears and follows him.

Act V, Scene 8:  Macduff finds Macbeth and they fight. Macbeth boasts that he cannot be killed by any man born of a woman, but his opponent counters with the information that he, Macduff, was taken surgically from his mother's womb before birth, and in this sense was not born of a woman. They fight, and Macduff kills Macbeth.

Act V, Scene 9 Macduff appears with Macbeth's head and hails Malcolm as King of Scotland. Malcolm declares that when he is crowned his supporters shall be made Earls, in celebration of the defeat of Macbeth. 


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