Act 1, Scene 1:
Characters: The three witches
Location: A desert place
Time: (Unknown) Before the end of the battle
Events: The witches plan to meet again once the battle has ended with Macbeth upon the heath.
All (witches): “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”
Act 1, Scene 2:
Characters: King Duncan, Captain, Malcolm (Kings Son)
Location: Camp near Forres
Events: A wounded soldier tells his tales of the past battle. He tells of how Macbeth (King’s cousin) kills the rebel MacDonwald (fighting for the Norwegians). MacBeth’s bravery is praised. The Norweigan’s staged a huge comeback with reloaded weapons and new men. Scotland’s army appeared to be not so skilled as the Norweigeners. Scottish decided that the dead Norweigan soldiers were not allowed to be removed from the battlefield to be buried without a payment of $10,000 to the Scottish. Macbeth is entitled to the castle, land and everything that MacDonwald owned for being responsible for his death.
Captain: “Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution. Like Valours minion, carved out his passage,”
Captain: “As two spent swimmer, that cling together and choke their art.”
Act 1, Scene 3:
Characters: 3 witches, Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, Angus.
Location: Upon the heath, the agreed meeting place from Scene 1.
Time: Once the battle has been lost and won.
Events: Witch one talks about her plan to stop a sailor from achieving a successful voyage because his wife had been rude to her. The witches predict Macbeth’s future, hailing him as the Thane of Cawdor and ‘shalt and king hereafter.” They also predict the future of Banquo, and tell him that he himself will not become King, although his descendants will be. Macbeth is told of the news that he has been titled the Thane of Cawdor by the arrival of Rosse and Angus, because of his bravery demonstrated in the battle by killing MacDonwald. This is met by confusion as the old Thane of Cawdor still lives, but also speculation towards the witches predictions seeing as their first one has come true.
Macbeth: “The Thane of Cawdor lives: why dress me in borrowed robes?”
Demonstrating Macbeth’s confusion that he has been crowned the Thane of Cawdor.
Macbeth: “If chance will have me King, why, Chance may crown me, Without my stir.
Referring to fate: Macbeth is saying that if he is destined to become king, then he will let destiny take his course without interfering.
Banquo: “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of Darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betrays, In deepest consequence.
Instruments of Darkness: Witches
Banquo is warning Macbeth that the witches may have been telling him the first truth, that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, in order to gain his trust. He worries that the witches other two predictions may be a lie to stir trouble.
Act 1, Scene 4:
Characters: Duncan, Malcolm, Banquo, Macbeth
Location: Forres, a room in the Kings Palace.
Time: After the witches make predictions for Banquo and Macbeth.
Events: Duncan personally thanks Macbeth for his valiant efforts in the bottle where he slew Macdonwald. The old Thane of Cawdor’s execution has now taken place. Malcolm publicly announces that Duncan, now the Prince of Cumberland, will be his heir.
Macbeth: “The Prince of Cumberland! – That is a step// On which I must fall down, or else o’erlap, // For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires. The eye wink at hand, yet let that be, Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.” He says that the Prince of Cumberland will be his downfall, or otherwise he will overcome him because he lies between himself and the throne. Fate, hide my actions and let not everyone see my evil thoughts and desires (let the darkness hide my actions). Let me blindly do what I must, so that my eyes can stay innocent to the actions that they fear.
Act 1, Scene 5:
Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Messenger,
Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle.
Time: After Malcolm was crowned Prince of Cumberland and pronounced heir to the throne.
Events: Lady Macbeth reads a letter addressed to her from her husband telling her of the witches prophecies. She reflects that Macbeth is too kind to perform such a deed. A messenger comes to tell her about the King’s arrival and she plans to take control of the situation and kill the king for Macbeth. She says she wants to be “unsexed” because woman in that time were thought of as un-capable. She says that she has no compunctions so her conscience wouldn’t get in her way. Macbeth comes and tells her of the Kings stay, she says to him to leave the deed to her.
Lady Macbeth: “That tent on moral thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty!” Take away my feminity to the deed.
Lady Macbeth: Yet I do fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.” She fears that her husband is to weak and kind to fulfill the deed of killing the King.
Lady Macbeth: Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly. Though he is not without ambition.
Lady Macbeth: Look like an innocent flower, But be the serpent under’t. Appear peaceful on the outside, but on the inside, be the serpent who commits the awful deeds.)
Come, you spirits// That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,//And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full//Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood:// Stop up the access and passage to remorse,// That no compunctious visitings of nature// Shake my fell nor keep peace between// The effect and it! Come to woman’s breasts,// And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,// Wherever in your slightness substances,//You wait on natures mischief! Come, thick night,// And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,// That my keen knife see not the wound it makes.//Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,//To cry ‘Hold, hold!’.
Act 1, Scene 6:
Characters: Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macbeth
Location: Outside Macbeth’s castle.
Time: After Macbeth and Lady Macbeth talk.
Events: Duncan arrives at the King’s castle and is welcomed by Lady Macbeth. They discuss Macbeth before proceeding inside.
Act 1, Scene 7:
Characters: Macbeth & Lady Macbeth
Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle.
Time: After Duncan arrives at the King’s castle and is greeted by Macbeth.
Events: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth talk about their plan to kill Duncan. Macbeth is having seconds thoughts and doubting his role in their plan. Lady Macbeth is appalled with her husbands’ doubts and calls him a coward and tells him he is too weak to follow through with his promise. She says that if she made a promise, she would follow through with it no matter what happens or what she may have to sacrifice. Lady Macbeth succeeds with convincing Macbeth to continue with the plan. She tells him of her plan to make Duncan’s guards drunk enough that they pass out, and then Macbeth will Duncan with the guard’s swords. Everyone will suspect that the guards were responsible for killing the King, and seeing as they were unconscious, they would neither be able to confirm nor deny whether this was true. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth will grieve for Duncan like everyone else to disguise the awful crime that they committed.
Lady Macbeth: Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know//How tender ‘t is to love the babe that milks me://I would, while it was smiling in my face,//Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,//And dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you//have done to this. In this quote, Lady Macbeth is saying that if she had made a promise like Macbeth had, she would do it no matter what. She would even tear the baby that she has nurtured and loved from her breasts and smash his head open, letting his brains spill out, if she had promised to do so.