Act 4Summary:Act 4 starts of with the witches in some sort of lair with a cauldron in front of them,casting some sort of spell and using various disgusting ingredients such as newt eyes and lizard legs. After a while Macbeth enters the lair and demands some more information about his future. In response to Macbeth, the witches cauldron summons several ghosts each of which have a different message to Macbeth.The first ghost is of a floating armoured head who tells Macbeth to not trust Macduff.The second ghost is of a bloody child who tells Macbeth That no man born of a woman can kill him.
Since everyone is the offspring of a woman no one should be able to harm or kill Macbeth. The last ghost is of another child but this time he’s wearing a crown and holding a tree branch he tells Macbeth how he will not be defeated till “..Great Birnam Wood…
“. This meaning he will not be defeated as no one can move a forest of trees. Then eight ghostly kings appear out in a line the last one holding a mirror and behind him a ghost of Banquo, This scares Macbeth as he remembers the last prophecy from Banquo’s prophecies. Which is how Banquo’s bloodline will bekings but not one himself. Macbeth asks the witches what these last ghosts mean but before he can get an answer the Witches vanish into the night. After Lennox tells Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England, with this information and his new prophecies Macbeth decided to invade Macduff’s castle and kill Macduff’s family as he does not trust him anymore. The next scene takes place at Macduff’s castle in Fife.
It shows Macduff’s wife Lady Macduff with one of Macduff’s sons. Young Macduff asks where Macduff has gone Lady Macduff says that he has died, Young Macduff questions this as if he did died Lady Macduff would be crying. Lady Macduff says she isn’t crying as Macduff is a traitor and has left tp England and she feels betrayed, Then a Messenger comes in to warn Lady Macduff about people coming to kill her and her family, she believes that she has not done anything. Then a group of murderers barge into their room and kill Young Macduff, Lady Macduff runs away, we as readers are not told whether or not she is killed but it is believed she is. Then we go to England where Macduff has gone to, to meet Malcolm, Malcom believes that Macduff is Macbeth’s spy while Macduff does not trust Macbeth. Malcolm tests Macduff trust by lying to him.
Macduff passes the test and Malcolm trusts Macduff. Ross then enters and talks about how bad of a king Macbeth is and how Malcom needs to return, Malcolm says he will with an army under the England king Edward’s command. Ross also tells Macduff that his wife and children have been murdered. Macduff promises to take revenge on Macbeth. This whole scene shows Macbeth’s prophecies taking place and how everyone starts to turn on and learn about how evil Macbeth is, He believes he is invincible but still believes Macduff as a threat. That is Mostly what happens in Act 4.Dramatic SignificancePathos: In Act 4 Pathos is made for Macduff as his whole family is brutally murdered by Macbeth’s ‘Goons’ because they did not leave with Macduff because they thought he was a traitor only for him to be right.
Macduff left because he knew that Macbeth was behind the murder of King Duncan and he knew he would eventually come after Macduff, his wife did not listen and got her and her sons killedImagery:In scene 1 the witches use quite nasty ingredients such as newt legs, toad legs etc. the nastiness in these ingredients show how evil the witches are.Pathetic Fallacy: In scene 2 of act 4 Lady Macduff compares herself to a Wren and talks about the incoming danger of an owl, Wrens are small birds that are not harmful and are prey to more bigger birds for example Owls, The group of murderers are “Owls” who prey on Lady Macduff who is a “Wren”.Dramatic Irony:In the scene when ross comes to warn Lady Macduff about the murderers she says that she has not done anything wrong and she will not be killed, she does not realize that she will be killed but us readers do realize it.Advances The Plot: In Act 4, Scene 2, Macbeth sends a group of murderers to Macduff’s castle to murder the family of Macduff. The murderer goes on to kill Macduff’s son and the group of murderers chase after Lady Macduff and kill her.
This advances the plot because when Macduff hears the news about his family it enrages him and motivates him to seek revenge against Macbeth.Foreshadowing: In scene 1 of Act 4 when Macbeth goes to the 3 witches to get another set of prophecies and when the witches tell him “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until / Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him” (107-09).Dramatic Contrast: In scene 1 of Act 4 when the witches tell macbeth that “none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth” (96-97). Macbeth gets cocky thinking that no one can harm him but he does not know that Macduff wasn’t born by C-section, “Untimely ripped”.
Atmosphere: In Act 4, Scene 1, was full of Lines of Significance”Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn, The power of man, for none of woman born,Shall harm Macbeth”- The second ghost says this to Macbeth and makes him confident in his rule,it also means no person born from a woman can harm Macbeth, This means everyone cannot harm Macbeth as everyone born of a woman or that is what we believe, It is later found out that Macduff was born by C-Section meaning he is not actually born by a woman.”…Untimely ripped”.
“Macbeth shall never vanquished be until, Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill, Shall come against him”- The third ghost says this to Macbeth, this is also like what the second ghosts says as it makes Macbeth more confident in his rule, It does so as Macbeth does not believe that anyone can move a group of trees therefore no one can defeat him.”Double, double toil and trouble” – This reminds readers that everything the witches do and say always have some sort of double meaning under it.”Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell” – Malcolm is talking to Macduff trying to allude Macbeth to angels, he is trying to say that some angels might look bright and good but are bad, Macbeth looks ‘bright’ but is actually bad underneath.”The flighty purpose never is o’ertook, Unless the deed go with it from this moment, The very firstlings of my heart shall be, The firstlings of my hand.” – Macbeth finds out about Macduff’s betrayal and is angered, he decided that whatever he feels is what he shall do to Macduff in this case, when he gets his hands on him he will punish him most likely by execution.
“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff! Beware the Thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough.” – This is the first ghost summoned by the witches cauldron spell, he warns Macbeth of the Thane of Fife who in this case is Maduff, this is what causes Macbeth to try and kill Macduff as he does not trust him anymore.