Scene Summaries of Macbeth ~ Folger’s Edition

Act 1. Scene 1. Three witches plan to meet Macbeth.
Act 1. Scene 2. Duncan, king of Scotland, hears an account of the success in battle of his noblemen Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan orders the execution of the rebel thane of Cawdor and sends messengers to announce to Macbeth that he has been given Cawdor’s title.
Act 1. Scene 3. The three witches greet Macbeth as “These Glamis” (as he is), “Thane of Cawdor,” and “king here after.” They then promise Banquo that he will father kings, and they disappear. Almost as soon as they are gone, Ross and Angus arrive with news that the king has named Macbeth “Thane of Cawdor.” Macbeth contemplates killing Duncan in order to become “king hereafter” as the witches have called them.
Act 1. Scene 4. Duncan demands and receives assurances that the former thane of Cawdor has been executed. When Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus join Duncan, he offers thanks to Macbeth and Banquo. He then announces his intention to have his son Malcolm succeed him as king and his plan to visit Macbeth at Inverness. Macbeth sets out ahead of him to prepare for the royal visit. Now that Malcolm has been named Duncan’s successor, Macbeth is convinced that he can become king only by killing Duncan.
Act 1. Scene 5. Lady Macbeth reads her husband’s letter about his meeting the witches. She fears that Macbeth lacks the ruthlessness he needs to kill Duncan and fulfill the witches’ second prophecy. When she learns that Duncan is coming to visit, she calls upon supernatural agents to fill her with cruelty. Macbeth arrives, and Lady Macbeth tells him that she will take charge of the preparations for Duncan’s visit and for his murder.
Act 1. Scene 6. Duncan and his attendants arrive at Inverness. Lady Macbeth welcomes them.
Act 1. Scene 7. Macbeth contemplates the reasons why it is a terrible thing to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth mocks his fears and offers a plan for Duncan’s murder, which Macbeth accepts.