Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Macbeth book cover
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Make a timeline for the main scenes within Macbeth in order.

The main scenes within Macbeth include the following:

  1. The witches prophesize that Macbeth will become king.
  2. Macbeth murders King Duncan.
  3. Macbeth murders Banquo, but Fleance escapes.
  4. Macbeth listens to the witches' new prophecies.
  5. Macbeth murders Macduff's family.
  6. Malcolm and Macduff join forces to overthrow Macbeth.
  7. Lady Macbeth loses her sanity.
  8. Macduff kills Macbeth.

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In act 1, scene 2, a Captain in Duncan's army reports on Macbeth's courage in battle. We learn that he is "brave" and "valiant" (1.2.18, 1.2.26). This scene helps to establish that Macbeth begins the play as a good man who is loyal to king and country.

In act 1, scene 3, Macbeth and Banquo meet the three Weird Sisters. The witches tell Macbeth that he "shalt be king hereafter" and that Banquo will "get kings" though he will never be king himself (1.3.53, 1.3.70). This is the inciting incident that initiates all of Macbeth's conflicts in the play.

In act 1, scene 4, Duncan names his son, Malcolm, his heir to the throne, disappointing Macbeth and causing him to consider what he needs to do to take the throne.

In act 1, scene 5, we see Lady Macbeth's reaction to her husband's news. It becomes clear that she holds more power in their relationship that he does. She intends to persuade him to do her will when he returns home. Ultimately, though he wants to talk more, she says, "Leave all the rest to me" (1.5.86).

In act 2, scene 2, Macbeth kills Duncan, and he is overwhelmed by his guilt. In act 2, scene 3, Duncan's body is discovered, and Macbeth also kills the chamberlains that he and his wife attempted to frame for the murder.

In act 3, scene 1, Macbeth hires people to murder Banquo and Banquo's son, Fleance. In act 3, scene 3, they murder Banquo only.

In act 4, scene 1, Macbeth goes to see the Weird Sisters to get more information. They offer him some enigmatically-worded statements of destiny that sound like assurances of safety.

In act 4, scene 2, Macbeth has the wife and children of his enemy, Macduff, murdered.

In act 5, scene 1, Lady Macbeth's decline in mental health becomes clear. She is sleepwalking and, essentially, revealing her own and Macbeth's guilt.

In act 5, scene 8, Macduff avenges his family and kills Macbeth. Malcolm takes his rightful place on the throne.

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Pauline Sheehan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Macbeth traces the destructive elements at play when Macbeth, a decorated and respected soldier, takes matters into his own hands and, with his wife, Lady Macbeth's, persuasion, intends to ensure his  position as king of Scotland, as foretold by the witches, by removing all obstacles in his way, starting with the king, Duncan, himself. 

1. The witches tell Macbeth he will be king and Banquo that his sons will be kings in Act I, scene iii and Macbeth immediately considers his options in safeguarding his future, to the point that, what he is thinking is so heinous that it "doth unfix my hair," (135). 

2. In Act I, scene v, Lady Macbeth expresses her intentions in persuading Macbeth. She will go to any length on Macbeth's behalf, and even begs to be filled with "direst cruelty," (40), to ensure that, if Macbeth loses his nerve she retains her resolve. She is...

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