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Macbeth. Act I. Act I Synopsis. Macbeth and Banquo . and in gratitude bestows the title of Cawdor on the absent Macbeth. as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and “King hereafter.”.

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Act I

Act i synopsis
Act I Synopsis

Macbeth and Banquo

and in gratitude bestows the title of Cawdor on the absent Macbeth.

as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and “King hereafter.”

The warriors, ___________________________ have been victorious in battle against the traitors Macdonald and the Thane (Lord) of Cawdor in 11th century Scotland.

King Duncan hears of their courage before their return home from the battlefield ________________ ________________________________________________

While they are returning from battle, Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches on a desolate heath who greet Macbeth ____________ ________________________________________________

Act i synopsi s continued
Act I Synopsis continued …

will beget kings though he will

not himself be one.

They prophesy that Banquo____________________ _______________________________________________

Macbeth, who is already Thane of Glamis, is startled when two messengers from the king greet him as the new Thane of Cawdor, thus fulfilling the witches’ prophecy in part. (Duncan has condemned the disloyal Cawdor to death.)

When Macbeth learns that Duncan’s son Malcolm has been appointed Prince of Cumberland, automatic successor to the throne, he momentarily entertains the idea of killing the king, and so begins the ultimate prediction of the witches on the heath.

Act i synopsi s continued1
Act I Synopsis continued …

Lady Macbeth falls in with Macbeth’s plot with greater energy than Macbeth himself, and when Duncan and his retinue pay a visit to Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth vows ominously that the king “must be provided for.”

Macbeth act i quotes
Macbeth Act I Quotes


It is a foul day because of the fighting and blood shed, but it is a fair day because of their victory.


The Thane of Cawdor is alive, why are you calling by his name.

  • “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.”

    • Speaker ___________________________

    • Explanation ____________________________________ ________________________________________________________.

  • “The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?”

    • Speaker ________________________________________

    • Explanation _____________________________________ ________________________________________________.

  • Macbeth quotes continued
    Macbeth Quotes continued …


    Fate will make me king. If it’s meant for Macbeth to be king it will happen without him doing anything.


    Because Cawdor confessed his treasons and was courage upon his death;, so the only thing he did right or honorable was to die for his acts.

    • “If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me, without my stir.”

      • Speaker _______________________________________

      • Explanation _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________

    • “…nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.”

      • Speaker ______________________________________

      • Explanation _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________

    Macbeth quotes continued1
    Macbeth Quotes continued …


    The king has made Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland. This poses a problem for Macbeth because now Malcolm stands between him and the throne.

    Lady Macbeth

    Because she fears Macbeth is too soft to commit murder in order to get what he “deserves.”

    • “Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies.”

      • Speaker _______________________________________

      • Explanation _____________________________________

  • “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.”

    • Speaker ________________________________________

    • Explanation _____________________________________ _

  • Macbeth quotes continued2
    Macbeth Quotes continued …

    Lady Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth is calling upon the spirits to give her the strength of a man or make her less of a woman or non-human so she can participate in the murder of Duncan.

    Lady Macbeth

    She is telling Macbeth to be welcoming, but kill Duncan when he has the chance.

    • “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty.”

      • Speaker ___________________________________

      • Explanation______________________________________ _________________________________________________

  • “Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.”

    • Speaker _______________________________________

    • Explanation_______________________________________ ___________________________________________________

  • Macbeth quotes continued3
    Macbeth Quotes continued …


    He doesn’t have the desire to commit murder, but he feels

    he must if he is to become king. So he has this internal struggle

    between good and evil.


    Macbeth is going against the good within him. He must

    smile while entertaining Duncan; knowing he plans to kill the king

    as soon as Duncan sleeps.

    • “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’ other.”

      • Speaker_________________________________

      • Explanation______________________________________ ________

  • “Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”

    • Speaker_______________________________________

    • Explanation______________________________________


  • Study guide questions 1 2
    Study Guide Questions 1-2

    When the hurly-burly's done, when the battle’s lost and won. Upon the heath to meet with Macbeth. (3-8)

    For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name – disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave; which nev’r shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, tell he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements. (16-24).

    • In Scene 1, where do the witches plan to meet again, and WHY?

      • _________________________________________________

    • What news about Macbeth does the blood-stained Captain bring to the king in Scene 2?

      • _________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 3 4
    Study Guide Questions 3-4

    Ross tells Duncan that the Thane of Cawdor was a traitor.

    The king is bestowing the title of the Thane of Cawdor upon Macbeth.

    • What news does Ross bring about the Thane of Cawdor?

      • _________________________________________________

    • What does the king determine to do for Macbeth?

      • __________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 5 6
    Study Guide Questions 5-6

    At the heath, the witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and that he shall be king hereafter.

    The witches tell Banquo that he will be lesser than Macbeth yet greater, happier than Macbeth because will no be happy and that he shall sire kings, though he won’t be one.

    “Yet do I fear they nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.

    • What do the witches tell Macbeth and Banquo in Scene 3?

      • __________________________________________________

      • ___________________________________________________

    • In Scene 5, what is Lady Macbeth’s response to her husband’s letter with the news about his title and the witches’ prophecy?

      • __________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 7 9
    Study Guide Questions 7-9

    “…Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the tow, top-full of direst cruelty!

    Macbeth is kin to the king. Macbeth is the king’s subject and host. Duncan is a good King and his people will mourn greatly and/or rebel. Everything goes against killing the king

    She accuses him of being a coward, questions his manhood, and tells Macbeth she will think less of him.

    • What speech tells you what Lady Macbeth plans to do to Duncan when he visits the castle?

      • __________________________________________________

    • What are Macbeth’s misgiving’s in Scene 7?

      • __________________________________________________

    • What is Lady Macbeth’s response to Macbeth’s misgivings?

      • __________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 10 11
    Study Guide Questions 10-11

    The weather is foreshadowing the evil actions which will soon take place. The weather also reflects the inner turmoil with Macbeth.

    The prophecy has planted the seed of discontent in Macbeth’s heart. Instead of being grateful for the title and rewards of the Thane of Cawdor, he covets the kingship and is unwilling to wait for it to come to him in a natural way. Macbeth would never have entertained to though of being king had it not been for the witches.

    • How does the weather reflect the human passions revealed in Act I.

      • _________________________________________________

    • The witches apparently recognize Macbeth as a man marked for success. Explain why their prophecy of Macbeth’s coming greatness is actually a temptation to him.

      • __________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 12 13
    Study Guide Questions 12-13

    Banquo’s position will be lesser than Macbeth, but Banquo’s character is greater than Macbeth.

    Macbeth believes the prophesy where Banquo listens and laughs at the prophesy.

    • Explain the seeming contradiction in the witches’ greeting to Banquo in Scene 3: “Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.” How is this true?

      • _________________________________________________

    • How do Banquo’s reactions to the witches differ from Macbeth’s? What does Macbeth’s reaction suggest at once about his character?

      • ________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 14 15
    Study Guide Questions 14-15

    The witches trick him by planting the seed of discontent for his position. He has never thought of being king.

    Macbeth wants to be king, but when Malcolm is anointed as the Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth becomes angry and this is where he makes the decision to kill Duncan. He continues to struggle within himself.

    • One critic has said that the witches are “in some sense representative of potentialities with” Macbeth. Explain this statement. Is there any evidence that Macbeth has wanted to be king before?

      • __________________________________________________

    • The most interesting part of any serious play is what goes on inside the characters’ minds. What conflict rages in Macbeth after he hears the witches’ prophecy? What effect do the events of Scene 4 have on the conflict?

      • _____________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 16 17
    Study Guide Questions 16-17

    Lady Macbeth is showing the evil side of her ambition. She is willing to help Macbeth kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is the one to initiate the killing plan. Macbeth is more passive and Lady Macbeth is more aggressive.

    Lady Macbeth is single-minded and imaginative/not sensitive. Macbeth is more logical and sensitive. Lady Macbeth wins the argument and the continue in their plan to kill Duncan.

    • We see Lady Macbeth alone for most of Scene 5, then with King Duncan and his party in Scene 6. What impressions do you have of her character by the end of Scene 6?

      • __________________________________________________

    • Describe the temperamental differences between Macbeth and his wife. Who is more single-minded and logical? Who is more imaginative and sensitive? Which one wins the argument?

      • ___________________________________________________

    Study guide questions 18
    Study Guide Questions 18

    Duncan is going to die there.

    • What irony would the audience feel as they watch Duncan enter the castle and hear him praise its peacefulness?

      • __________________________________________________

    Act i
    Act I

    Cat /Graymalkin is the witches cat.

    Toad / Paddock

    The Norweyan (Norwegian) invaded Scotland.

    Because he showed bravery in battle and defeated the kerns and the gallowglasses from the Western Isles.

    Duncan’s flaw is that he sees the best in people.

    • Name 2 animals associated with the witches?

      • _______________________________________

      • _______________________________________

    • Who invaded Scotland?

      • __________________________________________

    • In Scene 2, why does King Duncan give Macbeth a new title?

      • __________________________________________

    • What is Duncan’s flaw?

      • __________________________________________

    Act i continued
    Act I continued …

    The king want to go to Macbeth’s castle, Inverness.

    Lady Macbeth is reading Macbeth’s letter informing her of all that has happened.

    Macbeth lacks the courage to go through with the plan to kill in order to get what he wants.

    • Who praises Macbeth and expresses a desire to visit Inverness?

      • ________________________________________________

    • When we first meet Lady Macbeth, what is she doing?

      • ________________________________________________

    • What does Lady Macbeth complain that Macbeth lacks?

      • ________________________________________________

    Act i continued1
    Act I continued …

    Macbeth worries about the consequences of his actions. He is worried they may fail.

    Lady Macbeth doubts Macbeth’s determination to kill the king.

    • Who worries about the consequences of his actions?

      • _____________________________________________

    • Who doubts Macbeth’s determination to kill the king?

      • ______________________________________________

    Act i continued2
    Act I continued …

    Banquo is with Macbeth.

    Lady Macbeth resolves that they will kill the king.

    • Who accompanies Macbeth in his encounter with the Witches?

      • _______________________________________________

    • When she hears that Duncan plans to visit, what does Lady Macbeth resolve?

      • _________________________________________________

    Act i continued3
    Act I continued …

    Lady Macbeth and Macbeth argue over his desire to not kill the king and enjoy the gifts and praise being bestowed upon him now.

    At this time, Lady Macbeth seems to be the most forceful and ambitious in her pursuit of Macbeth’s position as king.

    Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his lust for power.

    • In the final scene, what conflict do Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have?

      • ________________________________________________

    • Who seems more forceful and ambitious – Macbeth or his wife?

      • ________________________________________________

    • What is Macbeth’s tragic flaw?

      • ______________________________________________