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Abridged Macbeth/#1/Background/Act 1, Scenes 1-2

The play opens and is mostly set in Scotland. The time of
the play was sometime between 1042 and 1066 AD when England’s king was the “pious
Edward the Confessor;” 1066 being the year the man from Normandy, William the
Conqueror, famously “conquered” England.
It was a time of superstition, violence and witches.  Three mysterious witches (Weird Sisters) are
on stage, the First Witch asking “When and where shall we three meet
again?”  The Second and Third Witches say
“When the battle’s lost and won, upon the heath, to meet with Macbeth.”  As they exit, all three say “Fair is foul,
and foul is fair.”  King Duncan and his
sons Malcolm and Donalbain enter.
There’s a battle being waged in the “Western Isles” between Norway and
Scotland.  The King and his sons meet a seriously
wounded Captain returning from the battlefields.  Malcolm asks the Captain to give his father
his “knowledge of the broil.”  The
Captain tells them that in the Hebrides “brave Macbeth sought out the
“merciless villain Macdonwald” and “unseamed him” with his sword.  Duncan says of Macbeth “O valiant
cousin.”  The Captain then says “But the
Norweyan lord with furbished arms and new supplies of men began a fresh
assault.”  He tells the King that Macbeth
and Banquo boldly faced the challenge “as cannons overcharged with explosive
charges.”  He then says “But I am
faint.  My gashes cry for help.”  He is helped off stage.  Ross and Angus (Scottish noblemen)
enter.  Ross tells the King that Norway’s
king put up a good fight “assisted by that most disloyal traitor, the Thane of
Cawdor.”  He says it was “a dismal
conflict, but to conclude, the victory fell on us.”  An angry King Duncan says “No more that Thane
of Cawdor shall deceive us.  Go,
pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth.  What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.”

Abridged Macbeth/#2/Conflict/Act 1, Scene 3

The three Witches are on stage.  Macbeth and Banquo enter.  Banquo says to Macbeth “What are these, so
withered, and so wild in their attire.”
Macbeth says “Speak if you can. What are you?”  The First Witch says “Hail to thee, Macbeth,
Thane of Glamis!”  The Second Witch says
“Hail to thee, Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor!”
The Third Witch says “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king
hereafter!”  Banquo says to a taken-back Macbeth
“Why do you seem to fear things that sound so fair?”  Banquo turns to the Witches and says “To me
you speak not. Speak to me who neither beg nor fear your favors nor your
hate.”  The Third Witch tells Banquo
“Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.”
The First Witch says “Banquo and Macbeth, all hail.”  Macbeth says “Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor
lives?  To be king stands not within the
prospect of belief.  Say from whence you
owe this strange intelligence. Speak, I charge you.”  The Witches vanish.  Ross and Angus enter.  Ross says “The King hath happily received,
Macbeth, the news of thy success.”  Angus
says “We are sent to give thee from our royal master thanks.”  Ross says “He bid me, from him, call thee
Thane of Cawdor, for it is thine.”
Macbeth says “The Thane of Cawdor lives.”  Angus replies “Who was the Thane lives yet,
but treasons confessed and proved have overthrown him.”  Macbeth turns to Banquo saying in effect that
maybe the Witches’ prophecies are true, now that I’m the Thane of Cawdor, as
they promised.  Suspicious Banquo says
“That, trusted fully, might yet enkindle you unto the crown.”  Ross and Angus step aside.  A distracted Macbeth also steps aside, separately,
and talks to himself, reflecting on the “ills” and “goods” of what they’ve
heard.  The calmer Banquo says “Worthy
Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.”
Macbeth says “My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten.  Kind gentlemen, let us toward the King.”  He turns aside to Banquo and says “Think upon
what hath chanced and at more time let us speak our free hearts each to
other.”  Banquo says “Very gladly.”  They exit.

Abridged Macbeth/#3/Surprise/Act 1, Scene 4

King Duncan asks Malcolm “Is execution done on
Cawdor?”  Malcolm says “I have spoke with
one that saw him die, and did report that very frankly he confessed his
treasons.  Nothing in his life became him
like the leaving it.”  Macbeth, Banquo,
Ross and Angus enter.  Duncan greets both
Macbeth and Banquo with warmth and graciousness.  The King tells all four that “I name as my
heir our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter the Prince of Cumberland, the
heir to the throne; which honor must not be bestowed without accompanying
honors to others.”  He turns to Macbeth
and says “From hence to Inverness and bind us further to you.”  Macbeth says “I’ll be myself the harbinger
the hearing of my wife with your approach.”
Duncan says simply “My worthy Cawdor.”
Aside, Macbeth says “The Prince of Cumberland!”  To himself he goes on to say that Malcolm
represents a hurdle he has to cross.
Macbeth exits.

Abridged Macbeth/#4/Treachery/Act 1, Scenes 5-6

Macbeth writes a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth,
telling her of the Witches’ prophecies.
Her immediate response on receiving the letter is that “thou shalt be
what thou art promised.”  She fears he
“wouldst not play false;” that he would want to win in a holy way.  She says “thou must do,” but she doesn’t
think he can.  She says to herself “Hie
thee hither that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and rebuke with my tongue
all that impedes thee from the golden round.”
A Messenger enters, saying to her “The King comes here tonight.”  She questions him, thinking she would have
known.  The Messenger says “So please
you, it is true.  Our thane is coming.”
He exits.  She says “Duncan under my
battlements as directed by fate.  Come
you spirits, unsex me here, and fill me with the direst cruelty.  Come, thick night, that my keen knife see not
the wound it makes.”  Macbeth
enters.  He says “My dearest love, Duncan
comes here tonight.”  She says “And when
goes hence?”  He says “Tomorrow.”  She tells him “you must put this night’s
great business under my management.”  He
says “We will speak further.”  She says
“Look up clear.  To alter expression is
to frighten.  Leave all the rest to
me.”  Duncan enters.  He says “This castle hath a pleasant
scent.”  Banquo says “The heaven’s breath
smells invitingly here. The air is delicate.”
Lady Macbeth enters.  She greets
the King and his entourage graciously.
Duncan says “Fair and noble hostess, we are your guest tonight.  Give me your hand.”  He goes on to say “Conduct me to mine host.
We love him highly.”  They exit.

Abridged Macbeth/#5/Strategy/Act 1, Scene 7

Macbeth is alone on stage reflecting on implications of
the assassination of the King.  He says
“if Duncan’s death might be the be-all and the end-all here, I’d risk the fate
of my soul, but being taught bloody instructions can return to plague th’
inventor.”  He goes on to praise King
Duncan as a person, saying “he hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been so
blameless in his great office, that (if I kill him) his virtues will plead like
angels.”  He goes on to say (if I kill
him) the “tears of angels will be as thick as rain and still the wind.”  He goes on to say “but only for vaulting
ambition” would I kill him.  Lady Macbeth
enters.  He tells her “We will proceed no
further in this business.”  She lashes
out at him, saying “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor
as thou art in desire?  Wouldst thou have
that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life and live a coward in thine own
esteem?”  He replies “Prithee,
peace.”  He tells her I can’t do more
than a man should do.  She replies that he
suggested it and doing it “you would be so much more the man.”  She then steps it up.  He says “If we should fail —-.”  She says “We fail?”  She says “When Duncan is asleep, his two
servants will I with wine and carousing overpower their memories.  What cannot you and I perform upon the
unguarded Duncan?”  Macbeth succumbs.  He asks “Will it not be received when we have
marked with blood those sleepy two and used their very daggers, that they have
done it?”  She says “Who will dare think
it otherwise, as we shall make our griefs and clamor roar upon his death?”

Abridged Macbeth/#6/Fear/Act 2, Scene 1

Banquo and a Servant are on stage.  We learn that it is well after midnight.  Macbeth enters.  Banquo cries “Who’s there?”  Macbeth replies “A friend.”  Banquo says “What, sir, not yet at rest?  The King’s abed. This diamond he greets your
wife withal.”  He gives Macbeth a
diamond.  Banquo says “I dreamt last
night of the three Weird Sisters.”
Macbeth says “I think not of them.”
Yet, when we have a minute we should talk about them.  Banquo says “At your kind’st leisure.”  He exits.
Macbeth says to the Servant “Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is
ready, she strike upon the bell.  Get
thee to bed.”  The Servant exits.  Macbeth’s mind is racing.  He thinks he sees a dagger.  He talks to it.  He says “I see thee yet, in form as palpable
as this which now I draw.”  He draws his
dagger.  He now thinks he sees blood on
the dagger.  He gathers himself, saying
“There’s no such thing.  It is the bloody
business which informs thus to mine eyes.
Thou sure and firm-set earth, hear not my steps.  Whiles I threat, he lives.”  A bell rings. He says “The bell invites
me.”  He exits.

Abridged Macbeth/#7/Murder/Act 2, Scene 2

Lady Macbeth enters the stage.  She imagines the scene, saying “He is about
it.”  She says to herself “I am afraid
‘tis not done.  I laid their daggers
ready; he could not miss ‘em.  Had Duncan
not resembled my father as he slept, I had done ‘t.”  Macbeth enters with bloody daggers.  He says “I have done the deed.  Didst thou not hear a noise?”  She says “I heard the owl scream and the
crickets cry.”  Speaking of the daggers,
she says “This is a sorry sight.”
Macbeth says “One did wake the other.
They did say their prayers and again to sleep.  One cried ‘God bless us’ and ‘Amen’ the
other.  I could not say ‘Amen’ when they
did say ‘God bless us.’”  She says
“Consider it not so deeply.”  He says “Me
thought I heard a voice cry ‘sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep.’”  She asks “What do you mean?”  He goes on to talk about sleep.  She says “Go get some water and wash this
filthy witness from your hand.  Why did
you bring these daggers from the place?
Go, carry them and smear the sleepy grooms with blood.”  He says “I’ll go no more.”  She cries “Infirm of purpose!  Give me the daggers.  The sleeping and the dead are but
pictures.  I’ll smear the faces of the
grooms withal for it must seem their guilt.”
She exits with the daggers.  She
re-enters, saying “My hands are of your color, but I would be ashamed to wear a
heart so white.”  They hear a knock at
the south entrance.  She says “Retire we
to our chamber; a little water clears us of this deed.”  She then says “Hark, more knocking.  Get on your nightgown. Be not lost so poorly
in your thoughts.”  Macbeth says “To know
my deed ‘twere best to not know myself.
The Macbeths hear another knock.
Macbeth says “Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.”

Abridged Macbeth/#8/Death/Act 2, Scene 3

A Porter answers the knocking at the door.  It is now near three in the morning. The
Porter, looking for a tip, says “I pray you, remember the porter.”  Macduff and Lennox (both young Scottish
noblemen) are at the door. Macduff asks “Why were you so late?”  The Porter replies “Faith, sir, we were
carousing and drinking, sir.”  Macduff
asks “Is thy master stirring?”  Macbeth
enters.  Macduff asks “Is the King
stirring, worthy thane?”  Macbeth replies
“Not yet.”  Macduff says “He did command
me to call timely on him.”  Macbeth says
“I’ll bring you to him.  This is the
door.”  Macduff says “I’ll make so bold
to call.”  He exits.  Lennox says to Macbeth “The night has been
unruly.”  Macbeth says “’Twas a rough
night.”  Macduff re-enters.  He cries “O horror, horror! Most sacrilegious
murder hath broke open the body of the king.”
Macbeth says “What is ‘t you say?”
Macduff says “Do not bid me speak.
See and then speak yourselves.”
Macbeth and Lennox exit.  Macduff
cries “Murder and treason!  Banquo,
Donalbain, Malcolm, awake.  Ring the
bell.”  Lady Macbeth enters and says
“What’s the business, speak.”  Macduff
says “’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.”  Banquo enters.  He says “Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict
thyself and say it is not so.”  Macbeth,
Lennox and Ross enter.  Macbeth says “Had
I died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time.”  Malcolm and Donalbain enter. Macduff tells
them “your royal father’s murdered.”
Malcolm cries “By whom?”  Lennox
says “Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ‘t.  The bloody daggers we found upon their
pillows.”  Speaking of the guards,
Macbeth cries “I do repent; I did kill them.”
Macduff says “Wherefore did you so?”
Macbeth says “Who can be temp’rate and furious; loyal and neutral, in a
moment?  Here lay Duncan, his silver skin
laced with his golden blood; there the murderers.”  Lady Macbeth says “Help me hence.”  Malcolm and Donalbain talk aside to
themselves.  Lady Macbeth begins to faint
and is taken aside.  Banquo says, when we
are calmer “let us meet and examine this most bloody piece of work to know it
further. Against the unrevealed purpose I fight of treasonous malice.”  All the others say “So all.”  All but Malcolm and Donalbain exit. Both fear
they will be accused of their father’s murder. Malcolm says “Let’s not join in
league with them.  I’ll to England.”  Donalbain says “To Ireland I.  Our separated fortune shall keep us both the
safer.”  Malcolm says “Therefore to
horse, and let us not be dainty of leave-taking but shift away
stealthily.”

Abridged Macbeth/#9/Coronation/Act 2, Scene 4

An Old Man accompanied by Ross (a Scottish nobleman)
enters.  The men are discussing the issues
that will follow Duncan’s murder.  Ross
says “By th’ clock ‘tis day, and yet dark.”
The Old Man replies “’Tis unnatural, even like the deed that’s
done.”  Macduff enters.  Ross asks “Is ‘t known who did this more than
bloody deed?”  Macduff says it seems “Those
that Macbeth hath slain.”  Ross says “Then
‘tis most like the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.”  Macduff replies “He is already named and gone
to Scone to be crowned.”  Ross asks “Will
you to Scone?”  Macduff says “No, cousin,
I’ll to Fife.”  Ross says “Well, I will
to Scone.”  Macduff replies simply “Well,
may you see things well done there.”

Abridged Macbeth/#10/Assignment/Act 3, Scene 1

A suspicious Banquo, speaking of Macbeth, says to himself
“Thou hast it now — King, Cawdor, Glamis, all as the Weird Women promised,
and I fear thou played’st foully for it.
But hush, no more.”  King Macbeth,
Lady Macbeth, Lennox, Ross and others enter.
Macbeth says to Banquo “Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir, and I’ll
request your presence. Ride you this afternoon?”  Banquo says “Ay, my good lord.”  By asking questions of Banquo, Macbeth learns
that Banquo and his son Fleance have a long ride ahead of them and will be
traveling for two or three hours after dark.
But Macbeth receives assurance from Banquo that he will “fail not our
feast.” Banquo exits.  Macbeth says “Let
every man be master of his time till seven at night.”  All exit but Macbeth and a Servant.  Macbeth instructs his Servant to “attend
those men without the palace gate. Bring them before us.”  The Servant exits.  Macbeth says to himself “Our fears in Banquo
stick deep.”  Macbeth frets over the
Witches’ prophecy that they “hailed him (Banquo) father to a line of
kings.”  He goes on to say “upon my head
they placed a fruitless crown and barren scepter to be wrenched from an
unlineal hand, no son of mine succeeding.”
The Servant enters with two murderers.
The Servant exits.  Macbeth asks
the Murderers “was it not yesterday we spoke.”
They say “It was.”  He then
stumbles through the Banquo issue.  They
say “You made it known to us.”  Macbeth
then asks them in a round-about-way, are you up to it?  The First Murderer says “We are men, my
liege.”  Macbeth continues to
over-instruct them, saying “both of you know Banquo was your enemy.”  They both say “True, my lord.”  Macbeth says “So is he mine.  Your spirits shine through you.  And with him Fleance, his son, must embrace
the fate of that dark hour.”  They both
say “We are resolved, my lord.”  The
Murderers exit.