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Macbeth Act 1-3 Plot Explanation

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Kenzie Brousson

on 3 January 2014

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Transcript of Macbeth Act 1-3 Plot Explanation

Macbeth Act 1-3 Plot Explanation
Promotion of Macbeth
King Duncan
hears about how
Macbeth (now Thane of Glamis)
and
Banquo
led the Scottish army successfully in two battles.
He also hears that a Scottish general (
Thane of Cawdor
) was a traitor in the battle.

Three Witches Predictions
Note: Macbeth and Banquo currently are unaware of Macbeth's promotion to Thane of Cawdor


Plot to kill Duncan

Macbeth writes a letter explaining everything to his wife,
Lady Macbeth
. When she receives it she plans for Macbeth to
murder Duncan
.
The plan:
-Duncan will be a guest in their house for dinner that night
-Lady Macbeth will get the servants drunk
-
Macbeth will murder Duncan
with a dagger as he sleeps
-He will
frame the drunk servants
by putting the bloody dagger in their hands
-Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will become
King and Queen of Scotland



Duncan's Murder
On the night in question, all goes as planned until Macbeth is supposed to go in

and
kill Duncan,
when
he has doubts
and
starts hallucinating
about a bloody dagger.

He
contemplates
the decision until eventually he hears the
signal bell
from Lady Macbeth and goes in to
murder Duncan
. "
The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell
." (2.1.75-77)



After Duncan's Murder
Macduff
then arrives with Lennox at the castle and
finds Duncan dead.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth must pretend to be appalled.
Banquo, Ross, Malcom and Donalbain also arrive at the scene.
Banquo's Murder
Banquo
starts to suspect something and says to himself that he
thinks Macbeth was really the murderer
.


Macbeth's Feast
Macbeth has many guests over for dinner, but he is distracted.
The murderers come to the castle to report to him. Macbeth becomes anxious about
Fleance having escaped,
and
guilty
about his friend's death.

King Duncan
announces: -
Thane of Cawdor
will be executed
-
Macbeth
will take his title
They also predict that
Banquo's children
(his son,
Fleance
)will be future kings. "
Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none
" (1.3.70.)
Macbeth and Banquo come across
three witches
who predict that Macbeth will be
Thane of Cawdor
and the
future King of Scotland
.
"All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!"
(1.3.53)
Lady Macbeth tells him to be a man and gather up his courage, and eventually convinces him to do commit to the plan. "`
But screw up your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail."
(1.7.70-71)
Macbeth has doubts because:
-Duncan is a fine king who has done nothing bad to him
-He would forever have the
murder on his conscience
-He could get caught
Note: Macbeth has found out about his promotion from Duncan and has now started to believe the witches predictions
Macbeth successfully murders Duncan
, but forgets to leave the bloody knives with the servants.
Lady Macbeth
tells him to go back and do it but he says he
can't bare it,
so she does it for him.

After the murder, Macbeth feels
extremely guilty, scared
and as though he'll
never sleep again.
"
Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more
." (2.2.55)

Lady Macbeth, though slightly anxious, feels as though he is over-reacting, and tells Macbeth that he
shouldn't over think it
and to
wash the blood off
his hands.

The lords
suspect the servants
as planned, and they are murdered for their crimes.
Duncan's sons (Malcom and Donalbain) flee to England and Ireland, which makes them
look suspicious
of the murder.

Macbeth therefore becomes King of Scotland.
Macbeth is
paranoid
that the witches' prediction about
Banquo's children becoming kings
will come true.
He hires
two murderers
to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance. "
It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, if it find heaven, must find out tonight.
(3.2.161-162)
The murderers attack Banquo and his son who are on their way to Macbeth's castle for a feast. They
kill Banquo
, but
Fleance manages to escape.
When Macbeth is about to sit down at the table, he sees
Banquo's bloody ghost
and begins
panicking.

The
guests wonder what's wrong
and Lady Macbeth tries to
cover it up
by saying he's
having a fit
, but Macbeth continues talking in a strange manner and Lady Macbeth must tell the guests to
leave
.
Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he was
hallucinating
and needs
sleep
, and Macbeth promises he will go
see the three witches
again.
Summary
At the end of the third act:

-Duncan is dead (by Macbeth/Lady Macbeth)
-Innocent slaves have been killed
-Malcolm and Donalbain are in England/Ireland and have been accused of their father's murder
-Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are still king and queen of Scotland
-Macbeth is losing it emotionally due to all the killing
-Lady Macbeth is frustrated with her husband for being so weak and troubled
-Banquo is dead (by murderers sent by Macbeth)
-Fleance is escaped
-People are becoming unhappy with Macbeth
-Lords are concerned for Scotland
-Lords are perhaps beginning to become suspicious
Full transcript