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Summary Act 4

Scene 1

In a cavern with a bubbling cauldron in the middle

Thunder and the three witches enter

They speak in rhyme and cast a spell

Enter Hecate

She commends the three witches for a job well done.

Exit Hecate

Enter Macbeth

Macbeth asks how the witches know what they know. He wants to see more.

They call apparitions for him to see.

The first says beware the thane of Fife!

Macbeth says thanks

The second is a bloody child, he speaks Macbeth, no man born from a woman shall harm Macbeth.

The third is a child crowned with a tree in his hand he says that when the forest comes to the castle Macbeth would be undone. Macbeth laughs on these premonitions saying that no man shall ever touch him for all men are born of women, and the forest will never meet the castle because trees cannot move themselves.

The witches warn him not to want to see more but he will not be swayed.

Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and a line of eight kings. He asks how should Banquo bear a line of kings?

The witches vanish with Hecate.

Macbeth throws a bit of a fit.

Enter Lennox

Macbeth asks if he saw the weird sisters and lennox answers no.

Scene 2

Fife at macduff’s castle

Enter Lady macduff, her son, and Ross

Ross tells lady Macduff that her husband has fled. Lady Macduff is very upset at her husband’s running away. She tells her children that their father is dead. Her son questions her and they discuss it a bit.

Enter a messenger

The messenger tells lady Macduff that she should leave and take her children with her. She does not know where to go and she does not think that anyone would come to kill her and her children because they have done nothing wrong.

Enter murderers

The first asks where Macduff is, there is some argument and they kill young macduff and then the rest of the family.

Scene 3

England before the king’s palace

Enter Malcolm and Macduff

Macduff tries to talk Malcolm into returning to scottland, but Malcolm is afraid. He thinks that if he returns he will be a worse king. Macduff assures him that there is not a demon in hell that could make a worse king than Macbeth. Malcolm confesses feelings of greed and fears he would cause ruin. Macduff tells him that Scotland is already in ruin.

Enter a doctor

He is asked if the king comes to see them, he is told yes, and they speak of the king.

Enter Ross.

Ross is asked about the current affairs of Scotland. He tells of an evil place full of greed, malice and violence. Where people are dying all the time. Macduff asks after his family to which Ross tells him they were alive when he left. Macduff tells Ross of how the king of England has granted them ten thousand men to use to defeat Macbeth. Macduff asks Ross why he seems to be hiding something. Ross tells him that it is something for his ears only. Ross tells Macduff of the rumor that Macbeth’s men have slaughtered Macduff’s wife and children. Malcolm tells Macduff to turn his sadness and anger into rage to use against Macbeth.


William Shakespeare