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Macbeth ACT I    SCENE I  A desert place. Thunder and lightning.   Enter three Witches .  
 
First Witch When shall we three meet again   In thunder, lightning, or in rain?  Second Witch   When the  hurlyburly's  done,   When the battle's lost and won.    5 Third Witch  That will be ere the set of sun.  First Witch   Where the place?  Second Witch   Upon the heath.  Third Witch  There to meet with Macbeth.  First Witch   I come,  graymalkin!   10 Second Witch   Paddock  calls.  Third Witch   Anon!  ALL  Fair is foul, and foul is fair:   Hover through the fog and filthy air.   Witches Vanish
Second Witch.  When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won. (1.1.4-5) i.e., when the commotion on the battlefield is over.
Macbeth  Glossary    First Witch  I come, graymalkin! (1.1.10) i.e., an affectionate name for a gray cat. During the Renaissance it was believed that Satan sent witches malicious spirits to help them carry out their evil deeds. These 'familiars' or 'imps' would appear in animal form. The familiar of the First Witch takes the form of a cat and the familiar of the Second Witch takes the form of a toad (Paddock). The familiar of the Third Witch is not mentioned in the first act but in 4.1, it takes the form of a 'harpy', a nasty creature in Greek mythology with the head and body of a woman and the talons of a bird.
 
SCENE II
A camp near Forres.
 
Alarum  within.*  Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant  trumpet call to battle
DUNCAN  What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt The newest state. MALCOLM   This is the sergeant Who like a good and  hardy  soldier  fought 'Gainst my captivity . Hail, brave friend! Say to the king the knowledge of the  broil As thou didst leave it. brave rescued me from capture battle
 
CAPTAIN Doubtful it stood; As two spent swimmers, that do cling together And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald-- Worthy to be a rebel, for to that The multiplying villanies of nature Do swarm upon him--from the  western isles Of  kerns and galloglasses  is supplied; And  fortune , on his damnéd quarrel smiling, Show'd like a  rebel's whore : but all's too weak: Ireland and the Hebrides foot soldiers and heavily armed (with battle axes) men fickle luck Romans considered Fortune an unreliable goddess.
 
 
For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name-- Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, Which  smoked 1  with bloody execution, Like  Valour's minion 2   carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; ,[object Object],[object Object],Valour and Cowardice Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Which  ne'er shook hands 3 , nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam'd him from  the nave to the chaps 4 , And fix'd his head upon our battlements. ,[object Object],[object Object]
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps
...the nave to the chaps... Ripped him open from the navel to the jaw. The imagery is particularly violent in this context, yet it comes from the harmless profession of tailoring. Look out for many other images of clothing in the play. What does this line tell us of the character of Macbeth?
DUNCAN   O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman! CAPTAIN As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark: No sooner justice had with valour arm'd Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels, But the Norwegian lord surveying vantage, With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men Began a fresh assault.
DUNCAN  Dismay'd not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo? CAPTAIN Yes; As sparrows, eagles, or the hare, the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe: Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, Or memorise another Golgotha, I cannot tell. But I am faint, my gashes cry for help. DUNCAN  So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons. Exit CAPTAIN, attended. Who comes here? Enter ROSS
MALCOLM  The worthy thane of Ross. LENNOX  What a haste looks through his eyes!  So should he look That seems to speak things strange. ROSS  God save the king! DUNCAN  Whence camest thou, worthy thane?
ROSS  From Fife, great king; Where the Norwegian banners flout the sky And fan our people cold. Norway himself, With terrible numbers, Assisted by that most disloyal traitor The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict; Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, Confronted him with self-comparisons, Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm. Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude, The victory fell on us. DUNCAN  Great happiness!
ROSS  That now Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition: Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use. DUNCAN  No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth. ROSS  I'll see it done. DUNCAN  What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won. Exeunt

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Macbeth Act I Scene Summary: Witches Prophecy Battles King Duncan

  • 2.  
  • 3. Macbeth ACT I  SCENE I  A desert place. Thunder and lightning.   Enter three Witches .  
  • 4.  
  • 5. First Witch When shall we three meet again   In thunder, lightning, or in rain?  Second Witch   When the  hurlyburly's  done,   When the battle's lost and won.  5 Third Witch  That will be ere the set of sun.  First Witch   Where the place?  Second Witch   Upon the heath.  Third Witch  There to meet with Macbeth.  First Witch   I come,  graymalkin!   10 Second Witch   Paddock  calls.  Third Witch   Anon!  ALL  Fair is foul, and foul is fair:   Hover through the fog and filthy air.   Witches Vanish
  • 6. Second Witch.  When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won. (1.1.4-5) i.e., when the commotion on the battlefield is over.
  • 7. Macbeth  Glossary  First Witch  I come, graymalkin! (1.1.10) i.e., an affectionate name for a gray cat. During the Renaissance it was believed that Satan sent witches malicious spirits to help them carry out their evil deeds. These 'familiars' or 'imps' would appear in animal form. The familiar of the First Witch takes the form of a cat and the familiar of the Second Witch takes the form of a toad (Paddock). The familiar of the Third Witch is not mentioned in the first act but in 4.1, it takes the form of a 'harpy', a nasty creature in Greek mythology with the head and body of a woman and the talons of a bird.
  • 8.  
  • 10. A camp near Forres.
  • 11.  
  • 12. Alarum within.* Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant trumpet call to battle
  • 13. DUNCAN What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt The newest state. MALCOLM This is the sergeant Who like a good and hardy soldier fought 'Gainst my captivity . Hail, brave friend! Say to the king the knowledge of the broil As thou didst leave it. brave rescued me from capture battle
  • 14.  
  • 15. CAPTAIN Doubtful it stood; As two spent swimmers, that do cling together And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald-- Worthy to be a rebel, for to that The multiplying villanies of nature Do swarm upon him--from the western isles Of kerns and galloglasses is supplied; And fortune , on his damnéd quarrel smiling, Show'd like a rebel's whore : but all's too weak: Ireland and the Hebrides foot soldiers and heavily armed (with battle axes) men fickle luck Romans considered Fortune an unreliable goddess.
  • 16.  
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  • 19.
  • 20. Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps
  • 21. ...the nave to the chaps... Ripped him open from the navel to the jaw. The imagery is particularly violent in this context, yet it comes from the harmless profession of tailoring. Look out for many other images of clothing in the play. What does this line tell us of the character of Macbeth?
  • 22. DUNCAN O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman! CAPTAIN As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark: No sooner justice had with valour arm'd Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels, But the Norwegian lord surveying vantage, With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men Began a fresh assault.
  • 23. DUNCAN Dismay'd not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo? CAPTAIN Yes; As sparrows, eagles, or the hare, the lion.
  • 24. If I say sooth, I must report they were As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe: Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, Or memorise another Golgotha, I cannot tell. But I am faint, my gashes cry for help. DUNCAN So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons. Exit CAPTAIN, attended. Who comes here? Enter ROSS
  • 25. MALCOLM The worthy thane of Ross. LENNOX What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look That seems to speak things strange. ROSS God save the king! DUNCAN Whence camest thou, worthy thane?
  • 26. ROSS From Fife, great king; Where the Norwegian banners flout the sky And fan our people cold. Norway himself, With terrible numbers, Assisted by that most disloyal traitor The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict; Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, Confronted him with self-comparisons, Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm. Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude, The victory fell on us. DUNCAN Great happiness!
  • 27. ROSS That now Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition: Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use. DUNCAN No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth. ROSS I'll see it done. DUNCAN What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won. Exeunt