Macbeth Plot Summary

Scene i: Play opens on eerie, macabre note in "an open place," where we see the three witches, the "weird sisters." In a dozen lines, they announce their evil nature by saying "Fair is foul,and foul is fair/Hover through the fog and the filthy air," and their intention to meet with Macbeth once the "hurly-burly" of a battle between the forces loyal to the King Duncan (led by Macbeth) and a rebels army (led by the current Thane of Cawdor) comes to an end. (Jump to the text of Act I, Scene i)

Scene ii: At the camp of the Scottish King Duncan, a wounded officer tells the king and his son, Malcolm, about the heroism of Macbeth and his friend Banquo in the fight against the rebels. News shortly arrives that the battle has now been won. Duncan orders the execution of the captured Thane of Cawdor and then transfers this title and estate to Macbeth, the new Thane of Cawdor.(Jump to the text of Act I, Scene ii)

Scene iii: Set on a heath, the three witches coven together again. They brag about their unnatural deeds and their powers over the supernatural world. Macbeth and Banquo appear on what Macbeth describes as an unusually, "foul and fair" day. The three witches predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and ultimately king of Scotland, and that his cohort Banquo will never rule. Macbeth pleads with them for more information about his future, but they vanish. Two of the king's men (Rosse and Angus) tell Macbeth about his elevation to the position of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo are taken aback by the accuracy of the witches' prediction. For his part, Macbeth is by now inclined to believe that it is his fortune to become king. (Jump to the text of Act I, Scene iii)

Scene iv: At Duncan's castle, the king, Malcolm and another of the king's sons, Donalbain, greet Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan announces that he will visit Macbeth at the new Thane's castle near Inverness, and then names his oldest son Malcolm as succes

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