Amidst thunder and lightening, three witches meet to plan their encounter with Macbeth, a Scottish general and the Thane of Glamis. They agree to gather again at twilight upon a heath that Macbeth will cross on his way home from battle.
Scene 1, Act 5
Lady Macbeth is reading a letter sent by her husband, reporting all of the strange events he has witnessed. She learns of the prophecy of the Witches and that one prediction has already come true. Lady Macbeth is ecstatic and she fixes her mind on obtaining the throne for Macbeth by any means necessary. But Lady Macbeth knows that her husband has a weakness that will prevent him from taking the steps required to secure the crown. She is sure that because Macbeth is an ambitious man, he has entertained the thought of killing Duncan.
Scene 1, Act 7
Lady Macbeth is furious with Macbeth for going back on his promise to kill King Duncan and passionately persuades him to carry out the murder. She employs a range of tactics to change Macbeth's mind by questioning his love for her, calling him a coward and threatening his manliness.
Scene 2, Act 2
Lady Macbeth has drugged Duncan's guards and she waits in her chamber for Macbeth to commit the murder. She hears moans of torture coming from Duncan's quarters and she loses some of her composure. She fears that they have awoken the guards and she confesses that she would have killed the King herself if he did not resemble her own father. Macbeth returns a murderer; his hands dripping in blood of his victims. The two whisper about the deed and Macbeth nervously recounts the cries each man made before he stabbed them. Lady Macbeth tells him to "consider it not so deeply" (2.2.30), but Macbeth can focus only on their screams and the frightening realization that, when one cried "God bless us!", he tried to say "Amen" in response, but the word stuck in his throat. Lady Macbeth pleads with her husband to put the act out of his mind but Macbeth only thinks harder upon what he has done. He hears a voice cry "Glamis hath murther'd sleep: and therefore Cawdor/Shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more!" (2.2.41-3). Lady Macbeth insists that he go wash his face and hands and place the daggers that he has so carelessly brought back with him in the hands of the guards. Macbeth refuses to return to the scene of the crime and so Lady Macbeth goes instead. Alone, Macbeth stares at his blood-soaked hands: What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes! | Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood | Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather | The multitudinous seas incarnadine, | Making the green one red. (2.2.59-63) |
Scene 1, Act 3
Act III opens at the royal castle on the day of a great feast to celebrate Macbeth's coronation. Banquo is the first to enter the great dining hall. The prophecy of the Witches races through his mind, and he begins to believe that Macbeth himself was responsible for the fulfillment of the Hags' prediction. He thinks upon his own destiny as foretold by the Witches. If Macbeth is now king, Banquo is sure to father future kings. A trumpet sounds and King Macbeth and his Queen enter the hall with Lennox, Ross, and a long parade of servants. Macbeth is very concerned with Banquo's activities for the day, and asks him where he plans to go before dinner begins. Banquo tells him that he and his son, Fleance, are going to ride on the vast castle grounds in the afternoon, but he assures Macbeth he will not miss the feast. Macbeth orders everyone to take the afternoon for himself and be 'the master of his time' until seven that evening, when the banquet will commence. Everyone rushes off, except Macbeth and a servant. He asks the servant to bring in two men that have been waiting at the palace gate. Alone for a brief moment, Macbeth reveals his plan to have Banquo and Fleance murdered while they are out riding. Killing now comes easier to Macbeth and he will gladly