Scene 1

Characters: The 3 Witches, Hecate, Macbeth, 3 Apparitions, Lenox

Location: A cave

Time: Night?

Events: The three witches dance around a cauldron, making some evil potion with all kinds of stuff in it. Hecate arrives, and then Macbeth knocks on the door. Macbeth (seeing the cauldron) asks what they are doing, and they say “a deed without a name”. Macbeth orders them to give him answers, and the witches send in the 1st Apparition (a head of armour). Macbeth asks “Tell me, you unknown power” but the witches tell him to listen and not speak. The 1st Apparition says “Macbeth, beware Macduff, beware the thane of Fife”. Macbeth thanks it, saying “you have rightly guessed my fear”. A second apparition appears, a child covered in blood. The child says “Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn the power of man, because none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” Macbeth says “well, I guess I don’t need to fear Macduff then, but I’ll kill him anyway just to be safe, and to get rid of this cowardly fear”. The child disappears, and the third apparition appears (a crowned child with a tree in his hand). The apparition tells Macbeth that he shall never be vanquished until the forest of Birnam advances against him to the high hill at Dunsinane. Macbeth takes this to mean he’ll never be vanquished, because how can a forest move? However, this isn’t enough for Macbeth and he demands to know if Banquo’s offspring will ever be on the Scottish throne. He says he’ll curse the witches if they don’t tell him so they do, and 8 Banquos enter, one after the next, the last one holding a mirror which shows many more Banquos. The ghost of the dead Banquo then enters also. Macbeth is shocked. The witches dance a bit and vanish, leaving Macbeth confused and angry. He calls for Lenox, who was waiting outside, and asks if they saw the witches. Lenox hadn’t seen them, but he tells Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth makes up his mind that from now on, he will do things immediately and without hesitation. He says he will go to Fife and kill Macduff’s kids and wife. Then they exit.

Quote(s): “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes: Open, locks, whoever knocks!” Witch 2, 45. This is spoken when Macbeth knocks on the door.

“Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits. The flighty purpose never is o’ertook Unless the deed go with it. From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. And even now, To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done: The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool. This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool. But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen? Come, bring me where they are.”
Time, you thwart my dreadful plans. Unless a person does something the second he thinks of it, he’ll never get a chance to do it. From now on, as soon as I decide to do something I’m going to act immediately. In fact, I’ll start following up my thoughts with actions right now. I’ll raid Macduff’s castle, seize the town of Fife, and kill his wife, his children, and anyone else unfortunate enough to stand in line for his inheritance. No more foolish talk. I will do this deed before I lose my sense of purpose. But no more spooky visions!—Where are the messengers? Come, bring me to them.
(Taken from No Fear Shakespeare on Sparknotes)
This is a turning point of the play, because previously Macbeth had been a bit waffly and not able to make up his mind. Now he had decided he will no longer hesitate and he will act immediately. It could be argued that this means Macbeth is losing himself and who he used to be, and he is losing his heart and/or his concience aka losing his mind. 

Scene 2

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Rosse, Macduff’s Son, Messenger, First Murderer

Location: Macduff’s castle (or house or wherever he lives)

Time: I dunno

Events: Lady Macduff and Rosse talk about how Macduff has fled. Lady Macduff swears that he is a traitor for leaving his family, and she feels betrayed. Rosse insists that Macduff is not a traitor and has his reasons for leaving, which he can’t say at that time. Rosse leaves, pleading that Lady Macduff will trust her husbands judgement. Once Rosse is gone, Lady Macduff tells her son that his father is dead. The son doesn’t believe her (he’s very smart). Suddenly a Messenger runs in and tells Lady Macduff that she and her kids must flee, because something dangerous is coming and it is coming fast, and then he leaves. Lady Macduff argues that she hasn’t done anything wrong. The murderers enter and Lady Macduff asks what the hay they are doing there. The murderer asks “where is your husband” and Lady M says “I hope he’s nowhere where thugs like you lot could find him”. The First Murderer calls Macduff a traitor and the son says he’s a liar (he murderer, not Macduff) and the murderer stabs him. The son cries out “Mother, he’s killed me, run!!” so Lady Macduff and the rest of the kids run away, crying “Murder!”, with a pack of killers running behind them.

Quote: FIRST MURDERER:(Stabbing him) What, you egg? Young fry of treachery! – while stabbing the Son, who called him a liar. Lol.

Scene 3

Characters: Malcolm, Macduff, Rosse

Location: King Edward’s castle (England)

Time: After the murder of Lady Macduff and kids.

Events: Outside King Edward’s castle, Malcolm and Macduff are talking, and Malcolm says how he cannot trust Macduff because he left his wife and children alone, as well as being one of Macbeth’s good friends, so Malcolm suspects Macduff is on a mission for Macbeth. To test Macduff’s loyalty, Malcolm rambles on about his own vices and how he is lustful, greedy and possesses no qualities that a good King needs. At first, Macduff politely says that this stuff is bad but he’d still be better than Macbeth, but eventually he cries out “O Scotland, Scotland!”. Macduff tells Malcolm that he is not fit to live, let alone govern a country, because he is such a bad person. Malcolm retracts all his previous statement and says that those were the first lies he ever told – none of it is true and he is actually a very good person. Macduff, in staying loyal to his country, has passed Malcolm’s loyalty test. A doctor enters briefly and lets Malcolm know that there is a crowd of people outside being cured by King Edward, not with physical wounds but spiritual evil stuff. Malcolm explains to Macduff that King Edward has a miraculous healing power given to him by God (because he’s the king). Rosse then enters, and he has just arrived from Scotland. Macduff asks if Scotland is how he left it, and Rosse says that it has fallen into a state of terribleness where nothing is good anymore. Rosse tells Macduff that his family is well, and asks that Malcolm return to Scotland to join the fight against Macbeth and inspire the good people to continue rebelling. Malcolm says he will return with 10,000 English soldiers that King Edward has given him. Rosse breaks down and tells Macduff that Macbeth has murdered his wife and children. Macduff falls into a state of shock and grief, and Malcolm urges him to put his grief into words and take it out as anger on Macbeth.

Quote(s):

“Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
‘Tis hard to reconcile.” – Spoken by Macduff after Malcolm retracts his statements about how evil he was etc.

 

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