Act 1 summaries

Scene 1: A desert place.

Shakespeare's Macbeth begins during a storm somewhere in Scotland where three witches and the magical animals that serve them, such as a toad and a cat, meet up and mysteriously talk of a battle going on. They agree to gather again once the battle is over, in order to meet with Macbeth.

Scene 2: A camp near Forres.

King Duncan, his sons Malcolm and Donalbain, and a nobleman named Lennox meet with a sergeant who has been injured in the battle mentioned in Scene 1. Later Ross, another nobleman, arrives. The sergeant tells them about the battle which was only won because of the bravery of Macbeth, who is the King’s relative and loyal thane (a Scottish nobleman). In the battle, the King’s army fought against a rebel army led by Macdonwald, who has now been killed by Macbeth, and the thane of Cawdor, a traitor who joined the rebel army. The Norwegian king, Sweno, seems to have somehow joined forces with the rebels but has now also been defeated. King Duncan is thrilled with the vic...

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