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William Shakespeare - Macbeth

Macbeth Act Asides

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Macbeth Act Asides

*~*!*~*Macbeth - the explained asides*~*!*~*

Act one - Scene 1
As a battle rages, the weird Sisters appear and agree that they will meet with Macbeth once the battle is over.
 
Act one - Scene 2
The valiant and worthy character of Macbeth is established in two reports of different battles delivered to King Duncan. The Thane of Cawdor, a traitor, has been captured. Ducan orders that the traitor be executed and that his title be given to Macbeth in recognition of his heroic efforts.
 
Act one - Scene 3
The battle is done and the Weird Sisters meet again. They greet Macbeth and Banquo with a series of prophecies. They predit that Macbeth will not only be Thane of Cawdor but will also be King, and that Banquo will be father to a line of Kings. Ross and Angus arrive with news that Macbeth is the new Thane of Cawdor, the fulfilling the first of the prophecies.
 
Act one - Scene 4
Duncan hears how nobly the traitor Cawdor died. Macbeth and Banquo arrive and are warmly greeted by the gracious King. Duncan proclaims his son Malcom heir to the throne and annouces his intention to visit Macbeth's castle. Macbeth leaves to prepare for the King's arrival. Macbeth now appears resolved to act to hasten the fulfillment of the Weird Sisters' prophecies.
 
Act one - Scene 5
Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband detailing the encounter with the witches. She immediately resolves to have Duncan killed to fulfill the prophecy. A messenger brings news of the king's imminent arrival. Macbeth appears and they begin to plot the assassination of the King.
 
Act one - Scene 6
Duncan and his entourage approach Macbeth's castle. They stop to admire the serene surroundings. Lady Macbeth greets them graciously and escourts them into the castle.
 
Act one - Scene 7
Macbeth debates whether or not he should kill the King. He decides to proceed no further with the plot. Lady macbeth reproaches Macbeth for his lack of courage. She convinces him to go through with the plan and assures him that it will appear that Duncan's guards are guilty of the deed.
 
Act Two - Scene 1
Banquo is tired but cannot sleep. His thoughts revolve around the Weird Sisters' prophecies. He mentions dreaming about the Sisters to Macbeth, but Macbeth denies thinking of them at all. Banquo agrees to discuss the matter further. Macbeth bids Banquo goodnight and proceeds about his bloody business. He imagines a dagger leading him to the place where he is to kill Duncan. The bell signals that all is clear for him to enter Duncan's chamber.
 
Act Two - Scene 2
Lady Macbeth waits in the courtyard for her husband. A shaken Macbeth appears and informs her that he has done the deed. She is horrified to discover that he husband did not leave the bloody daggers at the murder scene and he refuses to go back to Duncan's chamber. As Lady Macbeth leaves to return the daggers, a loud knocking is heard. When she rejoins Macbeth, they retire to their bedchamber to make it appear that they had been sleeping.
 
Act Two  - Scene 3
The porter's drunken sleep is cut short bu the loud knocking of Macduff and Lennox. Macbeth greets the two at the gate. Macduff leaves to rouse the King. A horridied Macduff reports that the King has been murdered. The crime is blamed on the guards, and Macbeth kills the guards out of supposed rage and loyalty for the King. Malcolm and Donalbain, decide to the flee the country for their own safety.
 
Act Two - Scene 4
An old man and Ross, recounting the unnatural events that transpired during the night of Duncan's murder, are joined by Macduff who informs them that suspicion of murder has fallen on the King's sons. It is believed that Malcolm and Donalbain hired the two guards to do the deed. Macbeth has been chosen as the new King. Ross leaves to attend the coronation but Macduff chooses to return home to fife insteade
 
Act Three - Scene 1
Banquo, although he suspects that Macbeth has attained the crown through foul play, is heartened by the Weird Sisters' prophecy that he himself will father a line of kings. Macbeth appears and learns of Banquo's plans for that day. Macbeth orders Banquo not to miss the banquet that evening. Alone, Macbeth is reminded if the prophecy concerning Banquo's lime. Two Murderers join Macbeth, who proceeds to persuade them to kill Banqup and Fleance.
 
Act Three - Scene 2
Lady Macbeth learns from a servant that Banquo is gone from the court. Alone, she admits that attaining the throne has not resulted in happiness or peace of mind. Macbeth enters and he too reveals that his mind has been tortured with fears of Banquo. They resolve to put happy faces for the banquet that evening. Macbeth hints of some deed of dreadful note that he has undertaken but does not share with his wife the details of the plan.
 
Act Three - Scene 3
Macbeth sends a third murderer to help kill Banquo. In confusion, however, Fleance escapes.
 
Act Three - Scene 4
The banquet is well underway when one of the murderers appears and reports to Macbeth. Macbeth is delighted with the news that Banquo is dead but is dismayed to learn that Fleance has escaped. When Macbeth rejoins the party he loses all composure in front of his guests when he sees Banquo's ghost. Lady Macbeth asks the guests to leave. Macbeth announces his intention to visit the Weird Sisters to get more information.
 
Act Three - Scene 5
Hecate, queen of the witches, chastises the Weird Sisters for approaching Macbeth without her. SHe instructs them on how to deal with Macbeth when he next calls. It is her plan to destroy Macbeth by filling him with over-confidence.
 
Act Three - Scene 6
With unrestrained sarcasm Lennox and another Lord discuss recent events in Scotland. They are convinced that Macbeth is responsible for the murders of Duncan and Banquo, and they are glad that Malcolm and Donalbain are beyond Macbeth's reach. Macduff has fled to England to join up with Malcolm, who is mustering a military force to rid Scotland of Macbeth's bloody tyranny.
 
Act Four - Scene 1
The Weird Sisters, huddled around a boiling cauldron, preparing a spell. Macbeth appears and demands information. A series of apparitions appear and Macbeth is heartened by their encouraging prophecies. The apparitions and the Weird sisters disappear. Lennox arrives and reports that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth resolves to attack Macduff's castle and have everypme within killed. 
 
Act Four - Scene 2
Ross and Lady Macduff discuss Macduff's abandonment of his family and his departure for England. Ross leaves and the Murderers appear at the door. Macduff's son is killed, and Lady Macduff is pursued offstage by the Murderers.
 
Act Four - Scene 3
Macduff has arrived in England and attempts to convince Malcolm to lead military force to overthrow Macbeth. Malcolm suspects that Macduff has been sent by Macbeth, but once Macbeth is convinced that Macduff is indeed loyal, he pledges to do all he can to restore peace and legitimate rule to Scotland. Ross arrives and reports the slaughter of Macduff's family and household. Malcolm encourages Macduff to convert his grief to anger and to seek revenge.
 
Act Five - Scene 1
Lady Macbeth has been observed sleep-walking and talking for several nights. A Doctor has been summoned by her attendant to observe her nightly ritual. Lady Macbeth appears, and in her sleep-walking state she relives details of the murders for which she and Macbeth have been responsible.  Both the Doctor and the Gentlewoman are shocked by what they witness. The Doctor realizes there is nothing he can do to help and advises that a careful watch be placed on Lady Macbeth.
 
Act Five - Scene 2
A Scottish army is on its way towards Birnam wood to join up with the Englsih forces led by Malcolm and Siward. Angus expresses the view that those few who continue to serve Macbeth do so not out of loyalty or love but only out of fear.
 
Act Five - Scene 3
Reports that the nobles are deserting him do not bother Macbeth. Because of his prophecies, Macbeth remains confident that he cannot be defeated. He receives a report that ten thousand Englsih soldiers are approaching his castle. As he puts on his battle garb, Macbeth discusses the Queen's condition with the Doctor.
 
Act Five - Scene 4
On their way to Macbeth's castle, Malcolm and the English forces stop at Birnam Wood. Malcolm orders the soldiers to cut branches from the trees to use as camouflage during there march towards Macbeth's castle.
 
Act Five - Scene 5
Macbeth feels secure behind the mighty battlements of his castle. He hears the cry of women and is informed that his wife is dead. THis sparks in him thoughts about the meaninglessness of life. New reportts claim that Birnam wood is marching towards Dunsinane.
 
Act Five - Scene 6
Malcolm and his forces have arrived at Macbeth's castle. He orders the soldiers to drop their branches and for Siward to lead the attack. Macduff and he will follow behind.
 
Act Five - Scene 7
A confident Macbeth abandons the security of the castle and challengers all comers on the battlefield. He finds himself concerned with no means of escape. But Macbeth is still confident that the second prediction ("no one of woman born shall harm Macbeth") will protect him. Young Siward comes upon Macbeth and is killed by him. Macduff appears seeking Macbeth out. Siward announces that the castle has surrendered and that the battle will soon be over.
 
Act Five - Scene 8
Macduff and Macbeth fight. At first, Macduff does poorly against Macbeth, who brags about his charmed life. Macduff reveals that he was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb. MAcbeth is so shocked that at first he refuses to fight with Macduff. Macduff kills Macbeth and dreags him off. Malcolm and Siward arrive and they learn that Siward's son has been killed. Macduyff reappears carrying Macbeth's head. Malcolm is hailed king and he promises to restore peace to the nation.
 
 
 

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