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Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Macbeth Navigator: Scene Summary Index

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Annotated Index

Act 1, Scene 1:
The witches plan their meeting with Macbeth.
Act 1, Scene 2:
A sergeant tells of the heroic deeds of Macbeth. . . . King Duncan announces that Macbeth will be given the title of Thane of Cawdor.
Act 1, Scene 3:
The witches prophesy that Macbeth shall be king and Banquo shall be father of kings. . . . Ross and Angus tell Macbeth he has been given the title of Thane of Cawdor. . . . Macbeth muses on the possibility of killing the King in order to be king.
Act 1, Scene 4:
King Duncan is told of the execution of the rebel Thane of Cawdor. . . . King Duncan thanks Macbeth for his heroic service, then announces that Malcolm is heir to the throne.
Act 1, Scene 5:
Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth's letter about what the weird sisters said, and works herself up to work him up to murder. . . . When Macbeth arrives, Lady Macbeth tells him to look innocent and follow her lead.
Act 1, Scene 6:
King Duncan arrives at Macbeth's castle and is greeted by Lady Macbeth.
Act 1, Scene 7:
Macbeth almost talks himself out of killing the King. . . . Lady Macbeth gives her husband a tongue-lashing that makes him commit to their plan to murder the King.
Act 2, Scene 1:
Past midnight, Macbeth tells Banquo that they'll speak of the witches another time, and bids him goodnight. . . . Macbeth sees "a dagger of the mind," hears his wife's bell, and goes to kill King Duncan.
Act 2, Scene 2:
Lady Macbeth waits for Macbeth to come with the news that he has killed the King. . . . Macbeth is so shaken by the murder that he brings the bloody daggers with him, and Lady Macbeth takes them from him, to place them with the sleeping grooms. . . . A knocking at the castle gate frightens Macbeth, and his wife comes to lead him away, so that they can wash the blood from their hands.
Act 2, Scene 3:
The Porter pretends that he is hell's gatekeeper, then lets in Macduff and Lennox. . . . Macduff discovers King Duncan's body. . . . Macbeth, in pretended fury, kills the King's grooms. . . . Malcolm and Donalbain, fearing that they will be murdered next, flee.
Act 2, Scene 4:
Ross and an Old Man discuss what an unnatural night it has been. . . . Ross and Macduff doubtfully discuss the news that Malcolm and Donalbain are responsible for their father's murder. . . . Ross heads for Scone, to see Macbeth crowned King of Scotland, but Macduff is going to stay home.
Act 3, Scene 1:
Banquo expresses his suspicion of Macbeth, and wonders if the witches' predictions will come true for himself, as they have for Macbeth. . . . Macbeth questions Banquo about the ride he's taking and insists he return in time for a banquet that night. . . . Macbeth persuades two Murderers that Banquo is their enemy, then sends them out to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance.
Act 3, Scene 2:
Lady Macbeth and Macbeth both envy the peaceful dead, who sleep in peace, while they, who have everything, live in constant fear of losing everything. . . . Macbeth reassures Lady Macbeth that their problems will be solved by a terrible deed to be done in the night.
Act 3, Scene 3:
A third Murderer joins the first two. . . . Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes.
Act 3, Scene 4:
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth welcome the guests to their banquet. . . . Macbeth hears from First Murderer that Banquo is dead, but Fleance has escaped. . . . The bloody Ghost of Banquo -- which only Macbeth can see -- appears among the guests. . . . When his guests are gone, Macbeth tells his wife he's going to find out why Macduff didn't attend their banquet. Then he hints that he may have to shed more blood, and decides he will speak to the witches again.
Act 3, Scene 5:
The three Witches appear with Hecate, who scolds them for having dealings with Macbeth without including her. Hecate tells them that Macbeth is coming to see them the next morning, and then they will show him some magic that will mislead him to his own destruction.
Act 3, Scene 6:
Lennox and another Lord have a conversation which shows that they have seen through Macbeth's lies and know that he is responsible for the murder of Banquo and King Duncan. They also wish Macduff well, because he has gone to England for help in freeing Scotland from the tyrant Macbeth.
Act 4, Scene 1:
Chanting "Double, double, toil and trouble," the three Witches stir the cauldron. . . . The witches call up apparitions which give Macbeth warnings, promises, and prophecies: beware Macduff, fear "none of woman born," fear nothing until Birnam wood come to Dunsinane, Banquo's issue shall be kings. . . . The Witches vanish and Macbeth calls in Lennox, who tells him that Macduff has fled to England, whereupon Macbeth orders the murder of Macduff's wife and children.
Act 4, Scene 2:
Ross brings Lady Macduff the news that her husband has fled Scotland. . . . Lady Macduff and her son joke about Macduff being a traitor. . . . A messenger rushes in to tell Lady Macduff to run for her life, but right after him come the murderers who kill the boy and his mother.
Act 4, Scene 3:
Macduff seeks Malcolm's support for a war against Macbeth, and Malcolm tests Macduff's intentions. . . . A doctor tells of the English King's miraculous ability to heal the sick. . . . Speaking to Malcolm and Macduff, Ross tells of Scotland's suffering under Macbeth and of the slaughter of Macduff's wife and children. Everyone is now ready to make war against Macbeth.
Act 5, Scene 1:
Lady Macbeth's waiting-gentlewoman tells a doctor of the Lady's sleep-walking. . . . Lady Macbeth walks and talks in her sleep, revealing guilty secrets.
Act 5, Scene 2:
The Scottish forces arrayed against Macbeth are on the march. The Scottish leaders comment on Macbeth's desperate rage.
Act 5, Scene 3:
Macbeth hears that his thanes are abandoning him, that the English army is approaching, and that his wife is soul-sick, but he tries to convince himself that he has nothing to fear, and prepares to fight.
Act 5, Scene 4:
The forces opposed to Macbeth enter Birnam wood, and Malcolm gives the order for every soldier to cut a tree branch and hold it before him.
Act 5, Scene 5:
Macbeth expresses his defiance of the forces marching against him, then hears a cry of women and receives the news of his wife's death. . . . A messenger reports that Birnam woods is coming to Dunsinane; Macbeth goes out to meet his fate.
Act 5, Scene 6:
The English and Scottish forces, led by Malcolm, begin their attack upon Dunsinane.
Act 5, Scene 7:
Macbeth fights Young Siward and kills him. . . . Macduff seeks Macbeth. . . . Malcolm and Siward take possession of Dunsinane.
Act 5, Scene 8:
Macduff and Macbeth do battle. Macbeth boasts that he cannot be harmed by "one of woman born," but Macduff replies that he was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripp'd." They fight on and Macduff kills Macbeth. . . . Malcolm, Siward and the rest enter. Siward receives the news of his son's heroic death. . . . Macduff enters with the head of Macbeth. Malcolm is hailed king of Scotland, whereupon he rewards his followers and invites all to see him crowned.
Act 5, Scene 9:
(There is no Act 5, Scene 9 in Macbeth Navigator. This link will take you to the summary of the last part of Act 5, Scene 8, which is designated as Act 5, Scene 9 in some editions of Macbeth.)