Macbeth Act 4 Short Summary

Table of Contents

Scene 1

In a witches’ house, the three witches are performing witchcraft by chanting and mixing strange things in a large boiling pot. Hecat enters and chants after which the second witch says, “something wicked this way comes” hence Macbeth enters.

He impatiently asks about them and any truth to their prophecies. They summon the first ghostlike figure who warns Macbeth of Macduff and then descends. It confirms Macbeth’s fear. The second apparition rises which is a bloody child who says that none of woman born will ever harm Macbeth.

The third apparition is a crowned child with a tree in his hand. It assures Macbeth of his invincibility until Birnam Wood starts moving towards Dunsinane Hill. These three apparitions falsely lessen the deep fears of Macbeth.

He asks them regarding Banquo and eight kings appear of whom the last one is Banquo’s ghost with a mirror in his hand. Macbeth wants to know the meaning of such a vision.

The witches dance and vanish and then Lennox enters and convey the message that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth orders to attack his castle and kill his wife, babies and rest of all.

Scene 2

In Fife, Lady Macduff tries to know from Ross the reason behind Macduff’s fleeing. While she feels betrayed by Macduff, Ross tries assuring her of Macduff’s wisdom and the ill-nature of the ongoing time.

Lady Macduff with her son wonders whether her husband is dead against which her son argues. A messenger enters to warn them and asks them to go away. While she is wondering, the murderers enter and kill the son and run after her.

Scene 3

In England, before the king’s palace, Malcolm and Macduff helplessly ponder upon the current state of Scotland. To test Macduff, Malcolm disgraces himself and falsely lists his vices. Unbelievingly Macduff shouts “O Scotland, Scotland!” and says that such a person shouldn’t even be alive and mourns that Scotland’s hopes end here.

Malcolm reverts his mask of the test, acknowledge his integrity and accepts his loyalty to jointly fight against Macbeth. A doctor enters after which they discuss King Edward’s healing power against evil disease and gift of prophecy.

Ross arrives and conveys the condition of Scotland. He falsely assures the wellbeing of Macduff’s family and asks Malcolm to return and fight against Macbeth. Unable to restrain any longer, he confesses the murder of Macduff’s family and the ravage in his castle.

After grieving deeply, Macduff composes himself. Malcolm asks him to convert his grief into anger and in the end, he assures revenge upon Macbeth for everything.