Macbeth Act 1 Notes

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  1. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth Notes
  2. Act 1 Scene 1
    • Summary
      • The three witches are introduced. They inform the reader that they are going to meet with Macbeth.
    • Themes
      • Supernatural
        • Witches
    • Definitions
      • Anon – immediately
    • Character Descriptions
      • Witches
        • Are they actual supernatural beings?
    • Important Lines
      • Fair is foul, foul is fair
        • Antithesis
        • Setting
  3. Act 1 Scene 2
    • Summary
      • Duncan is introduced. A soldier comes to Duncan to tell him that Macbeth has killed the rebel Macdonwald. However, the battle continues as the Norwegian lord began a new assault. He was aided by the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth was able to defeat them. Duncan orders the Thane of Cawdor to be killed and give Macbeth the title.
    • Notes or Definitions
      • Thane
        • a title of nobility in Scotland corresponding to that of an earl.
      • Bellona’s bridegroom
        • Bellona was a goddess of war and sister of mars.
      • Nave
        • navel
      • Chaps
        • jaws
    • Character Descriptions
      • Duncan
        • Seems to be in control
      • Macbeth
        • Even though we don’t meet him, we learn about him.
        • Brave soldier, loyal to his country.
    • Important Lines
      • And with his former title greet Macbeth.
  4. Act 1 Scene 3
    • Summary
      • The witches appear again. They give 3 predictions to Macbeth and one to Banquo. Scarcely have the predictions been made than Ross and Angus arrive to tell Macbeth that he has been made Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo react differently. Banquo recognizes evil as such but Macbeth is now encouragement to put further trust in them.
    • Themes or Symbolism
      • Symbolism of Fear
        • Notice how Macbeth gets afraid when the witches mention he will be King. This symbolism is associated with the main theme of the play which is gradual ruin of a man through his yielding to evil.
      • Theme of Darkness
        • Witches 0 goes back to scene 1.
    • Character Descriptions
      • Macbeth
        • His ambition begin to work at him.
      • Banquo
        • Loyal to the king
        • Not influenced by predictions
    • Important Lines
      • So foul and fair a day have not seen
        • Paradox
      • Present fears are less than horrible imaginings
  5. Act 1 Scene 4
    • Summary
      • Malcolm is describing the execution of the thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo enter and are thanked by Duncan for their loyalty and service. He promises to reward them with more honours. Duncan then names his son Malcom as the heir to the throne (Prince of Cumberland). As an honour to Macbeth, Duncan invites himself and the court to Macbeth’s castle. Macbeth leaves immediately of the castle but he is upset that Malcolm has been named heir.
    • Character Descriptions
      • Macbeth
        • Notice his ambition 0 he is upset that he is not heir to the throne.
      • Duncan
        • Not a good judge of character – trusted Thane of Cawdor who was a traitor.
    • Important Lines
      • There’s no art
      • To find the mind’s construction in the face.
  6. Act 1 Scene 5
    • Summary
      • Lady Macbeth is reading a letter her husband has sent telling her about the prophecies and their partial fulfillment. She expresses her determination that the third prophecy will also come true. However, she also believes that Macbeth is not capable of the direct action required – the murder of Duncan – and decides she must spur him on.
      • A messenger arrives with the news that Duncan is on his way to Inverness. She knows this will be an ideal opportunity to carry out her plan and wants her femininity to be replaced with evil.
      • Macbeth arrives.
    • Character Descriptions
      • Lady Macbeth
        • Notice how cruel she is.
        • She takes control.
    • Important Lines
      • Unsex me here …
      • Yet I do fear thy nature
  7. Listen to Macbeth