Act 2 Act 1 Act 3 1 1
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Act 2 Act 1 Act 3 1. 1 Three witches 2. 1 Fleance 1. 2 King Duncan 2. 3 Porter First Murderer Malcolm Macduff Captain Second Murderer Lennox Third Murderer Lennox Rosse 1. 3 Macbeth Banquo Angus 1. 5 Lady Macbeth Donalbain 2. 4 3. 1 Servant 3. 5 Hecate Act 4 4. 1 First Apparition Second Apparition Third Apparition 4. 2 Old Man 5. 1 Gentlewoman 5. 2 Caithness Menteith Lady Macduff Son 4. 3 Act 5 Doctor 5. 3 Seyton Soldiers Siward Messenger Characters in Macbeth, as they appear in the play
Macbeth Act 1 Summary 1. Witches arrange to meet Macbeth. It’s a hurly burly windswept foggy filthy battling world! 2. An army captain informs King Duncan that Macbeth and Banquo fought courageously against Norway. Macbeth is brave, bellicose and butchering. Top bloke! 3. Witches meet Macbeth and Banquo with 3 prophecies… first one immediately comes true as Ross tells Macbeth he has been promoted to Thane of Cawdor! 4. The old Thane of Cawdor is executed for being a traitor. Oooh, maybe something about being To. C makes you a traitor. King Duncan’s eldest son Malcolm is named as heir. Macbeth says he will need to “o’erleap” Malcolm to become king. 5. READ ALL ABOUT IT! Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth with the witchy news. She wants to be a man, doubts Macbeth’s courage and with him plots to kill King Duncan that night! She doesn’t mess around does she! 6. King Duncan arrives at castle and thinks its jolly ‘pleasant’ Nooo, don’t go in! 7. Macbeth makes a soliloquy saying he can’t kill King Duncan, he respects him too much. Lady Macbeth makes him change his mind again, and the regicide is back on! Dun dun…
Macbeth Act 2 summary 1. Castle, middle of the night. Banquo dreams of the witches and Macbeth pretends he doesn’t think of them. (Liar liar pants on fire). Macbeth hallucinates and sees a dagger that lures him to the regicide. He kills King Duncan (offstage). 2. Macbeth shows Lady Macbeth two bloody daggers. He is distressed and claims he hears a voice saying ‘Sleep no more’. Lady Macbeth takes control and puts daggers on grooms smearing them with blood. 3. Ominous knocking. Drunk porter breaks up the tension. Macduff discovers King Duncan’s body. Donalbain and Malcolm flee in fear of their lives Donalbain flees to (DIME!) Ireland, Malcolm 4. Ross and an old man discuss disturbances in nature including an flees to owl killing a falcon and horses eating each other. (neigh, yes, yes) England
Macbeth Act 3 summary 1. Macbeth is worried about his position as the new king and persuades two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. 2. Lady Macbeth is worried about hubby worrying alone. He keeps it a secret from her about his plan to kill Banquo and Fleance. 3. Three murderers succeed in killing Banquo but Fleance escapes (Yay! Later, we see that he produces a great line of kings). 4. Banquet scene (Come dine with a ghost!) For starters… murderers tell Macbeth that they killed Banquo with 20 gashes and he’s now in a ditch, but Fleance escaped. For main course… Macbeth has guilty hallucination: Banquo’s ghost appears and Macbeth loses it. Lady Macbeth makes excuses for him, and he joins the banquet again. For pudding… Macbeth has another guilty hallucination: Banquo’s ghost appears again and Macbeth loses it again and the banquet ends quickly. Lady Macbeth criticises her husband. Macbeth decides to get more guidance from the witches (as you do). 5. Hecate, queen of witches is angry with witches for not telling her about messing with Macbeth. 6. Lennox doesn’t trust Macbeth. English King has welcomed Malcolm and will be joined by Macduff.
Macbeth Act 4 summary 1. Three witches summon up three apparitions: first is an armoured head “beware Macduff”; second is a bloody child “none of woman born/Shall harm Macbeth”; third is a child wearing a crown “safe until Birnham Wood comes to Dunsinane”. Witches vanish and Lennox tells Macbeth that Macduff is in England. Macbeth decides to have his wife and children murdered. 2. Lady Macduff criticises Macduff for desertion and is seen to have a good relationship with her son (contrasting with Lady Macbeth who theorised infanticide). She and her children are murdered. 3. In England, Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty by suggesting he would be a worse king that Macbeth. He realises Macduff is sincere when he laments the state of Scotland. Ross tells Macduff of the murder of his family. He wants revenge so Malcolm, Macduff and English army prepare to attack Macbeth’s castle.
Macbeth Act 5 summary (a very fast moving act) 1. A doctor and gentlewoman discuss Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking. Lady Macbeth sleep-talks of murder and tries to wash imaginary blood from her hands. Doctor believes she needs divine help not medical help. 2. The rebel Scottish army prepares to attack Macbeth’s castle. 3. Macbeth hears that ten thousand soldiers (not geese!) are approaching but he remains confident due to the witches predictions. 4. Malcolm’s army cut down branches from Birnham Wood to use as camouflage. 5. Macbeth hears that Lady Macbeth is dead and reflects on the meaningless of life “out brief candle”. A messenger tells him Birnham Wood is moving and Macbeth orders an attack. 6. Malcolm’s army throw down their branches and prepare to attack. 7. Macbeth fights and kills young Siward. 8. Macduff confronts Macbeth and reveals he was born by caesarean. Macduff fights and kills Macbeth and then CUTS OFF HIS HEAD (just like Macbeth cut off Macdonald’s head in Act one, and like the first Thane of Cawdor was executed, showing the CYCLICAL structure of the play). 9. Malcolm is hailed as the new king of Scotland. Yay!
Act 1 Hurly-burly Fair is foul, and foul is fair Brave Macbeth Dearest partner of greatness Too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness Unsex me here Never Shall sun that morrow see Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it dashed the brains out Quotations you (probably) already know: Macbeth Act 2 Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers hell-gate (the porter’s description of the entrance to the castle) Had he not resembled my father O gentle lady Act 3 gracious Duncan Full of scorpions is my mind Gory locks Blood will have blood Full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife We are yet but young in deed Act 4 Act 5 Something wicked this way comes Out, damned spot! All my pretty chickens What’s done cannot be undone. Bleed, bleed poor country! (Macduff) To bed, to bed! Out, out, brief candle! Dead butcher and his fiend-like queen
Macbeth: recommended quotations to learn These quotations are particularly useful as you can refer to meaning as well as character, themes AND terminology Quotation Character/theme (AO 1) Terminology (AO 2) 1 Assisted by that most disloyal traitor (1. 2) Rosse speaking about how Norway was assisted by the first Thane of Cawdor. Theme of betrayal Most = SUPERLATIVE FORESHADOWS that Macbeth will be a traitor. Contributes to CYCLICAL STRUCTURE of play as both Thanes of Cawdor are beheaded. 2 Stars, hide your fires, / Let Macbeth has heard that Malcolm not light see my black has been made Duncan’s heir, but and deep desires (1. 4) Macbeth is now committed to becoming king. Themes of power and ambition. Motif of light and dark IAMBIC PENTAMETER RHYMING COUPLET to emphasise the words PERSONIFICATION of stars and light ALLITERATION (to emphasise words) of Let/light DENTAL CONSONANCE in Let/light DENTAL ALLITERATION of deep desires 3 Fill me from the crown to the topfull/ of direst cruelty (1. 5) Direst = SUPERLATIVE DENTAL ALLITERATION in toe topfull IMPERATIVE SENTENCE HYPERBOLIC language – the extent to which she wants to be evil Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to make her more evil. Themes of supernatural, power and ambition
Macbeth: recommended quotations to learn These quotations are particularly useful as you can refer to meaning as well as character, themes AND terminology Quotation Character/themes (AO 1) Terminology (AO 2) 4 His virtues/Will plead like angels, trumpettongu’d (1. 7) Macbeth imagines the goodness (virtue) in King Duncan fighting against the regicide that he plans. Themes of good/evil, ambition, loyalty, manipulation SIMILE – like METAPHOR – the angels voices will resemble lamenting trumpets DENTAL ALLITERATION - trumpet tongu’d 5 Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums/And dashed the brains out, (1. . 7) Lady Macbeth belittles Macbeth by telling him that if she had agreed to the regicide she’d rather kill her own child (commit infanticide) than go against her word. This extreme behaviour suggests some form of psychosis after the death of her own baby (I have given suck). Themes of ambition, power, violence Aggressive PLOSIVE ALLITERATION plucked/nipple and boneless/brains ONOMATOPOEIA - dashed INFANTICIDE – the killing of a child PSYCHOSIS – a mental disorder whose symptoms include behaviour that is inappropriate to the situation 6 A dagger of the mind (2. 1) Macbeth’s guilt causes him to see the hallucination of a bloody dagger that lures him to King Duncan’s chamber. Themes of supernatural, ambition, guilt, power The dagger is a METAPHOR for the anguish and guilt in his mind. He speaks this in his SOLILOQUY just before committing the regicide.
Macbeth: recommended quotations to learn These quotations are particularly useful as you can refer to meaning as well as character, themes AND terminology Quotation Character/theme (AO 1) Terminology (AO 2) 7 Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood… seas incardine (2. 2) Macbeth has very bloody hands after killing King Duncan – it is so bad that he believes green seas will turn red with blood. Theme of guilt, ambition HYPERBOLIC LANGUAGE – King Duncan’s blood on Macbeth’s hands will turn the ocean red. CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY – referring to Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea METAPHOR – this strong visual image is a metaphor for Macbeth’s guilt 8 Knock, knock. Who’s there I’th’name of Beelzebub (2. 3) The porter is provided for comic relief after the previous dark scene. As well as being at the metaphorical gates of hell he also talks about alcohol, desire, sex and performance which would appeal to the audience. Theme of ambition, power, good and evil represented by the Devil (Beelzebub), the gatekeeper to hell ONOMATOPOEIA – in the word knock, emphasised by the STAGE DIRECTIONS ‘knocking within’ REPETITION – including this quote the word knock is spoken 10 times by the porter. METAPHOR – Hell is a metaphor for Macbeth’s castle
Macbeth: recommended quotations to learn These quotations are particularly useful as you can refer to meaning as well as character, themes AND terminology 9 Quotation Character/theme (AO 1) Terminology (AO 2) L. The earth/Was feverous and did shake. Lennox reports (in 8 lines) to Macbeth about the terrible weather (during the murder). Macbeth plays this down with his very bland response PERSONIFICATION – the whole earth had a fever and shook, making the audience think of volcanoes, lava flows and earthquakes – all due to the killing of the King which was an act against God. M. ‘Twas a rough night (2. 3) Themes of ambition, power BATHOS – this means anti-climax – Macbeth’s response shows bathos as he clearly wants to move on from discussing the antics of the previous night. 10 There’s daggers in men’s smiles (2. 4) Donalbain and Malcolm flee in fear, because people hide their mean intentions by smiling (this is similar to Lady Macbeth flower/serpent simile, 1. 5) Theme of ambition, power METAPHOR: the smile is false because there is murderous intent behind it. 11 I am cabined, cribbed, confined (3. 4) Macbeth says this when he hears that only Banquo was murdered and that Fleance escaped. He is back to his paranoid state knowing that as Fleance lives the prophecy that ‘Thou shall get kings’ can come true. Theme of ambition, power ALLITERATION in an ASYNDETIC LIST (an asyndetic list doesn’t include the connective ‘and’) which has the effect of emphasising Macbeth’s mental torture and extreme anxiety knowing that Fleance and his ancestors might be future kings.
Macbeth: recommended quotations to learn These quotations are particularly useful as you can refer to meaning as well as character, themes AND terminology Quotation 12 Security is mortals’ chiefest enemy (3. 5) Character/theme (AO 1) Terminology (AO 2) Security here means over-confidence. Hecate, queen of the witches, suggests that ambition and over-confidence are responsible for Macbeth’s downfall (all mortals). Themes of ambition, power SUPERLATIVE – chiefest Act 3. 5 – note that this scene is thought to have been written by someone other than Shakespeare. The second apparition, resembling a bloody child, says 13 Be bloody, bold and resolute (4. 1) this to Macbeth. It’s manipulating Macbeth, telling him IMPERATIVE SENTENCE Aggressive PLOSIVE ALLITERATION of the three Bs Resolute = determined what he wants to hear as he continues to be manipulated by the supernatural and his own greed. Themes of ambition, power and supernatural. 14 Mercy, lowliness, devotion (4. 3) Malcolm lists the virtues of a good king to Macduff – virtues that King Duncan had and Macbeth definitely does not have. Themes of leadership and power ASYNDETIC LIST (a list with no ‘and’) – emphasises the endless POSITIVE ADJECTIVES Help! MLD = mum loves dad = Mercy Lowliness Devotion 15 Dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds (5. 3) Lennox says we must do whatever we can to water the royal flower (Malcolm) and drown the weeds (Macbeth) Themes of ambition and power Flower and weeds, both Nature METAPHORS