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Macbeth | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Macbeth Study Guide." August 10, 2016. Accessed June 2, 2023.


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Macbeth | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Night 1

    After a rebellion, Macbeth and Banquo meet witches who predict Macbeth will be king.

    Act 1, Scene 3
  • Day 2

    Duncan names Macbeth the new Thane of Cawdor.

    Act 1, Scene 4
  • Some days later

    Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plot assassination and Macbeth kills Duncan as he sleeps.

    Act 2, Scene 2
  • Coronation

    Macbeth becomes king and orders the murder of Banquo.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Night of Banquo's murder

    Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost at banquet; lords become suspicious.

    Act 3, Scene 4
  • Day after banquet

    Macbeth meets witches again; their prophecies make him too confident.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Some weeks later

    Macduff convinces Malcolm to return and fight. Macbeth has Macduff's family killed.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Some months later

    Lady Macbeth is insane from guilt; she dies.

    Act 5, Scene 5
  • Next day

    Malcolm leads English and Scottish troops to battle with Macbeth.

    Act 5, Scene 6
  • Same day

    Macduff kills Macbeth in battle; Malcolm ascends to Scottish throne.

    Act 5, Scene 8

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 Three witches gather in an outdoor location while a storm brews. They agree to meet again after a battle, also brewing, ... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 Macdonwald, a lord from the Western Isles of Ireland and the Outer Hebrides, has joined with the Norwegian king to start... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 The witches meet, as arranged, on a heath, where they encounter Macbeth and Banquo as they make their way home from the ... Read More
Act 1, Scene 4 Duncan confirms the execution of the Thane of Cawdor. Malcolm says he heard that Cawdor died honorably by confessing his... Read More
Act 1, Scene 5 Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband announcing his new title and telling her about the witches' prediction that... Read More
Act 1, Scene 6 Duncan and his sons, along with Banquo and the other lords, arrive at Macbeth's castle. Duncan admires the castle and re... Read More
Act 1, Scene 7 As the servants prepare a banquet to honor the king, Macbeth debates with himself and shores up his courage to kill Dunc... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 Banquo and Fleance have a short talk while on the night's watch. Banquo has a bad feeling about this night and can't sle... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 Lady Macbeth feels energized and emboldened by the excitement of the night's events, although an owl's hoot startles her... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 A hungover porter answers the knocking from the previous scene and finds Macduff and Lennox at the gate. Macbeth arrives... Read More
Act 2, Scene 4 Ross talks to an old man about bad omens and a seeming impenetrable darkness since the king's murder. Ross addresses the... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 Macbeth has been crowned king, and Banquo stands alone to contemplate how this follows the witches' prediction. He has s... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 Lady Macbeth confirms that Banquo has left the court and encourages Macbeth to bury any guilt he still has about Duncan.... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 Macbeth's hired murderers prepare to ambush Banquo and Fleance along a darkened road. They attack and kill Banquo when t... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 Macbeth and Lady Macbeth host a banquet for the lords at court. As the king and queen greet their guests, one of the mur... Read More
Act 3, Scene 5 The witches convene with their goddess Hecate, who is angry that they have been dealing with Macbeth without her advice.... Read More
Act 3, Scene 6 Lennox meets with another thane and talks about the strange events and suspicious deaths that have taken place recently.... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 The witches meet at the pit of Acheron and brew a spell in their cauldron to create trouble, likely for Macbeth. Hecate ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Lady Macduff, her son, and the Thane of Ross are in the castle at Fife. Lady Macduff is angry at her husband for leaving... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 Macduff finds Malcolm at the palace of King Edward the Confessor in England. They mourn Duncan's death and share their s... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 A doctor speaks with one of Lady Macbeth's attendants. The attendant describes Lady Macbeth sleepwalking at night, somet... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 In the countryside near Dunsinane, the lords Caithness, Menteith, Lennox, and Angus meet with a number of soldiers. Ment... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 In the castle at Dunsinane, Macbeth runs through the predictions from the visions the witches showed him. The forest can... Read More
Act 5, Scene 4 The Scottish army and the English army, with all the lords and thanes attending, meet at Birnam Wood. Malcolm instructs ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 5 Still in the castle at Dunsinane, Macbeth has convinced himself that he and his men have a good chance in battle. From a... Read More
Act 5, Scene 6 Only three short speeches long, this scene nevertheless brings the play to the brink of war. Malcolm, his uncle Siward, ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 7 In the midst of battle, Macbeth finds himself cornered, but he continues to fight. He takes some comfort in the prophecy... Read More
Act 5, Scene 8 Macduff catches up with Macbeth on another part of the battlefield. Macbeth still thinks there is a way out, so when Mac... Read More
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