At the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a great conquering hero to his country and is extremely loyal to his King. He risked everything for them both including his own life. Even when Macbeth and Banquo were outnumbered significantly, they were still fearless and fought on!.
"For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valour's minion carved out his passage ill he faced the slave;".
"As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:".
When King Duncan hears of Macbeth's heroics, he is extremely pleased with Macbeth's loyalty and his service to him and his country. He also hears how The Thane of Cawdor betrayed him and his country and he is absolutely dismayed. He explains how he had every bit of his trust in The Thane of Cawdor. He tells Ross, a warrior who brought King Duncan the message of Macbeth's heroics, that he wants The Thane of Cawdor to be executed. He tells Ross how he wants Macbeth to have the title "Thane of Cawdor". At this point, Macbeth is returning from battle with Banquo and knows nothing of his new title yet.
However, he is yet to meet the witches, which we previously met on the very first page of the play. These ugly witches intend nothing other than total chaos and intend evil upon Macbeth and Scotland.
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair: hover through the fog and filthy air." .
When Macbeth does actually meet with the witches on the heath, he does not really realise that they are witches. He and Banquo do realise that the creatures are not normal beings of the earth. When the witches meet Macbeth they greet him as,.
"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis all hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!".
Macbeth is perplexed but is also extremely curious. Who are these creatures he thinks to himself, and why are they calling him the Thane of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives he thinks to himself.