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ACT I Scene iii

Lesson Standards
















Language Objective

I will be able to effectively communicate my interpretations and analysis of Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii using academic language and vocabulary.

Learning Intention

I will be able to analyze the dialogue, actions, and literary devices in Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and themes.

Success Criteria

  • I will be able to identify and explain the motivations and personalities of the characters in Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii.
  • I will be able to identify and analyze the use of literary devices in Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii.
  • I will be able to interpret the thematic implications of Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii.

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In Act I, Scene iii of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth and his friend Banquo have just finished a bloody battle to quell a rebellion against King Duncan. On their way home, they encounter three witches eager to make predictions about both of their futures. The effect of these prophecies on Macbeth are immediate and will have far-reaching consequences in Shakespeare’s great tragedy.*Watch Study Sync Video

Macbeth: Play Summary



to take the first step or steps in carrying out an action; to start or begin


effort or trouble


a preceding event


the possibility that something will happen in the future


carried away with emotion; completely interested


After a battle to end the rebellion against King Duncan, army captains Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches. The witches hail Macbeth as the thane, or earl, of Glamis, the thane of Cawdor, and the future king. Macbeth knows that since Sinel has died, he will be thane of Glamis. But he does not yet possess the other titles. Stunned, Macbeth begs the witches to tell him more, but they disappear. Two emissaries arrive, summoning Macbeth to the king. The thane of Cawdor has been sentenced to death for plotting against King Duncan. As a reward for his glories in battle, the king wants to give the title to Macbeth. Although Macbeth is overjoyed, Banquo cautions him and says that evil forces speak part of the truth to lead men to their destruction. Macbeth ignores his friend’s advice and begins to think of killing King Duncan, even though the thought of murder is loathsome to him.

A heath near Forres. [Thunder. Enter three Witches] FIRST WITCH: Where hast thou been, sister? SECOND WITCH: Killing swine. THIRD WITCH: Sister, where thou? FIRST WITCH: A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:-- 'Give me,' quoth I: 'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries. Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger: But in a sieve I'll thither sail, And, like a rat without a tail, I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

Act I, Scene iii

SECOND WITCH: I'll give thee a wind. FIRST WITCH: Thou'rt kind. THIRD WITCH: And I another. FIRST WITCH: I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow, All the quarters that they know I' the shipman's card. I will drain him dry as hay: Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his pent-house lid; He shall live a man forbid: Weary se'nnights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak and pine: Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tost. Look what I have.

SECOND WITCH: Show me, show me. FIRST WITCH: Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd as homeward he did come. [Drum within] THIRD WITCH: A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come. ALL: The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go about, about: Thrice to thine and thrice to mine And thrice again, to make up nine. Peace! the charm's wound up. [Enter MACBETH and BANQUO]MACBETH: So foul and fair a day I have not seen.BANQUO: How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these So wither'd and so wild in their attire, That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth, And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught

That man may question? You seem to understand me, By each at once her chappy finger laying Upon her skinny lips: you should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so. MACBETH: Speak, if you can: what are you? FIRST WITCH: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis! SECOND WITCH: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! THIRD WITCH: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter! BANQUO: Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.

If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favours nor your hate. FIRST WITCH: Hail! SECOND WITCH: Hail! THIRD WITCH: Hail! FIRST WITCH: Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. SECOND WITCH: Not so happy, yet much happier. THIRD WITCH: Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none: So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! FIRST WITCH: Banquo and Macbeth, all hail! MACBETH: Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more: By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis; But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman; and to be king Stands not within the prospect of belief,

No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence, or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you. [Witches vanish] BANQUO: The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd? MACBETH: Into the air; and what seem'd corporal melted As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd! BANQUO: Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner? MACBETH: Your children shall be kings. BANQUO: You shall be king.MACBETH: And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

BANQUO: To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here? [Enter ROSS and ANGUS] ROSS: The king hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success; and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, His wonders and his praises do contend Which should be thine or his: silenced with that, In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale Came post with post; and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, And pour'd them down before him.ANGUS: We are sent To give thee from our royal master thanks; Only to herald thee into his sight, Not pay thee.

ROSS: And, for an earnest of a greater honour, He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor: In which addition, hail, most worthy thane! For it is thine. BANQUO: What, can the devil speak true? MACBETH: The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me In borrow'd robes? ANGUS: Who was the thane lives yet; But under heavy judgment bears that life Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not; But treasons capital, confess'd and proved, Have overthrown him. BANQUO: What, can the devil speak true? MACBETH: The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me In borrow'd robes? ANGUS: Who was the thane lives yet;

But under heavy judgment bears that life Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not; But treasons capital, confess'd and proved, Have overthrown him.MACBETH: [Aside ]Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind. [To ROSS and ANGUS] Thanks for your pains. [To BANQUO] Do you not hope your children shall be kings, When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me Promised no less to them?BANQUO: That trusted home Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,

Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange: And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence. Cousins, a word, I pray you.MACBETH: [Aside] Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen. [Aside] This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings:

My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not. BANQUO: Look, how our partner's rapt. MACBETH: [Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir. BANQUO: New honors come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould But with the aid of use. MACBETH: [Aside] Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. BANQUO: Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure. MACBETH: Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains Are register'd where every day I turnThe leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time,

The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak Our free hearts each to other. BANQUO: Very gladly. MACBETH; Till then, enough. Come, friends. [Exeunt]*Watch StudySync TV

Macbeth: Act I, Scene iii


PERSONAL RESPONSE: In this scene from Macbeth, Macbeth and his friend Banquo encounter three witches who predict both of the men’s futures. In your opinion, would being able to see into the future enhance the quality of your life? Why or why not? Support your opinion using evidence from the text and relevant personal anecdotes.

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