Act 4 summaries

Scene 1: A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

The three witches are dancing around a bubbling cauldron while filling it with scary ingredients such as bits of bat, snake, and shark. Macbeth arrives, desperate for clarity, and demands that they reveal the details of his future. Three apparitions, or ghosts, then appear: an armed head; a bloody child; and a crowned child holding a branch. 

The apparitions say that Macbeth should be on his guard concerning Macduff; that no man born by a woman can harm Macbeth; and that he will not be defeated until Birnam Wood moves towards Dunsinane Hill where Macbeth’s castle lies.

However, when Macbeth asks about Banquo becoming the father of kings, his relief turns to despair: Eight ghost-like kings appear, with Banquo’s ghost carrying a mirror at the end, signifying his never-ending line of royal heirs. 

One of Macbeth’s noblemen, Lennox, arr...

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