What are examples of headlines that could be written for Act 1, Scene 4, in Macbeth?
At this point in Macbeth, Macbeth and Banquo have defended Scotland from an attack by neighboring Ireland, Norway, and the rebellious Thane of Cawdor, Macdonwald. Macbeth and Banquo are then confronted by the Three Witches, who claim to predict the future: Macbeth will be named Thane of Cawdor in Macdonwald's place, and Macbeth will later become King of Scotland. When word arrives from the current King Duncan that Macbeth has indeed become the Thane of Cawdor, he begins to wonder if the rest of the prediction will be true.
Act 1, Scene 4 takes place at the palace of King Duncan, with news arriving of the execution of Macdonwald, whom King Duncan had once trusted. Two possible news headlines for this part of the scene could be King Refuses to Forgive: Executes Once Trusted Ally or A Fall from Grace: Thane of Cawdor Accepts Fate.
King Duncan then turns to Macbeth and urges him to stay faithful –– more faithful than Macdonwald (As Macbeth Ascends, Expectations Increase). However, Duncan follows this encouragement with more news: He has named his son, Malcolm, as heir to the throne (King Duncan Names Malcolm As Heir to the Throne). To Macbeth, this makes it clear that he has power, but will never be king, and he hides his frustration (Macbeth Named Thane of Cawdor, But is it Enough to Satisfy His Ambition?).
In Act 1, Scene 4 of Macbeth there are several happenings that would be worthy of newspaper headlines.
For example, at the beginning of the act, Malcolm tells Duncan that he's heard the Thane of Cawdor has been executed.
Thane of Cawdor Executed, Repents of His Sins
Afterward, King Duncan tells Malcolm he will be the heir to the throne of Scotland.
King Duncan Announces Heir to Scottish Throne
King Duncan tells Macbeth he will be spending the night at Inverness castle. Macbeth then travels on ahead to prepare for the king.
Macbeth to Host King at Inverness Castle
Lastly, Macbeth realizes that Malcolm now stands between Macbeth and the throne. He confesses his "black and deep desires" to the stars.
Response to Malcolm as Heir: Not Everyone Happy
These are just some examples of headlines that could be written for Act 1, Scene 4.
Some headlines for this scene might well be:
"Traitor Cawdor Loses His Head"
This is the reason Macbeth is able to assume his title, as predicted by the Weird Sisters. However, Cawdor apparently departs this life better than he lived it.
"Macbeth Plots an Overthrow"
He's now aware that if Malcolm is declared the heir, he'll have to be removed if Macbeth's own ambitions are to come to fruition. The evil that has been planted in his mind is gestating, and he is beginning to plan how he can seize the throne.
And, of course, "King Duncan Is Clueless"
Duncan has absolutely no idea that the man he trusts and has just promoted is harboring murderous thoughts. He is, in fact, so oblivious, that he goes on to take shelter in the house of the man planning to assassinate him.