Act 4 Scene 1 – Summary †
Characters: Three witches and Macbeth
Location: A dark cave
Events: Macbeth meets with the three witches, who summon three apparitions for Macbeth. The first is an armed head (armour) it warns Macbeth to beware ‘Thane of Fife’ who is Macduff. The second apparition is a bloody child who tells him that no one who is born from a woman can harm him. The third is a child that wears a crown and holds a tree, this one says that Macbeth will never be defeated until Great Birnam Wood (Forest) moves to the castle. Before the witches leave, Macbeth says he wants to know more, and threatens to curse the witches, they make eight kings appear, the last one has a glass (Mirror) in his hand. They are followed by Banquo (Ghost) Macbeth notes how all of the Kings look alike, similar to Banquo. This shows that kings to come will be related to Banquo, not Macbeth himself.
Quote: “Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee? But yet I’ll make assurance double sure, And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live, That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, And sleep in spite of thunder.” – Macbeth, (After seeing the second apparition) saying that he does not need to fear Macduff, and has no reason to kill him but wants to guarantee his own fate by ending his life. because it is the only way he can stop being paranoid and fearful, also that Macbeth will be able to sleep easy at night.
Act 4 Scene 2 – Summary †
Characters: Lady Macduff, Rosse, Messenger, Macduff’s son
Location: A room in Macduff’s castle
Time: Unknown, after scene 1
Events: Rosse tells Lady Macduff of how her husband has fled, she believes that he is now a traitor, and left out of cowardliness and fear. Rosse attempts to tell her that her husband is an honorable, courageous man, but she is resilient to believe it. Rosse leaves, Lady Macduff and one of her sons have a conversation about traitors, and what makes a man a traitor. Some time later, a band of murderers enters and kills the son, Lady Macduff flees screaming murder and is pursued, it is assumed that she is killed as well.
Quote: I have done no harm. But I remember now I am in this earthly world, where to do harm Is often laudable, to do good sometime Accounted dangerous folly. – lady Macduff, saying that she has done no wrong, but must recall that in the world which she lives doing evil deeds is often praised and good deeds is a stupid and dangerous mistake.
Act 4 Scene 3 – Summary †
Characters: Macbeth, Malcolm, Doctor, Rosse
Location: England, a room in the King’s palace
Events: Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty by telling him hat he is worst than Macbeth, and has more vexes and bad traits than good qualities. Eventually, Macduff becomes angry and says that Scotland is doomed. Malcolm reveals that what he said was not true, and that Macduff has proven that he is loyal.