Macbeth Act 4

Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare later in his career about a Scottish nobleman’s obsession with power. It’s one of Shakespeare’s timeless classics.”

In this post, I will provide a comprehensive plot summary of Macbeth Act 4, broken down by scene with corresponding questions and answers for each section.

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Macbeth Act 4

Macbeth Act 4

Macbeth Act 4 Scene 1

In a dark cavern, a cauldron bubbles and hisses as the three witches appear. They gather around the cauldron, chanting spells and adding strange ingredients like “eye of newt and toe of frog.” Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, joins them and praises their work. They predict Macbeth’s arrival, and he appears, asking them to reveal the truth of their prophecies.

To answer his questions, the witches summon eerie apparitions. First, a floating head warns Macbeth to beware of Macduff. Then, a bloody child tells him that no one born of a woman can harm him. Next, a crowned child with a tree says he’s safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. Lastly, a procession of eight kings, with Banquo’s ghost at the end, passes by. Macbeth demands an explanation but receives none as the witches vanish. Lennox arrives and informs Macbeth that Macduff has gone to England. Macbeth plans to send murderers to capture Macduff’s castle and kill his family.

Questions on Macbeth Act 4 Scene 1

  1. Q: Where does the scene with the three witches take place?
    • A: The scene with the three witches takes place in a dark cavern.
  2. Q: What are the witches doing around the cauldron?
    • A: The witches are chanting spells and adding strange ingredients to the cauldron.
  3. Q: Who is Hecate, and what is her role in this scene?
    • A: Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, and she praises the witches’ work and joins them in their activities.
  4. Q: What does Macbeth ask the witches to do when he arrives?
    • A: Macbeth asks the witches to reveal the truth of their prophecies and answer his questions.
  5. Q: What eerie apparitions do the witches summon to answer Macbeth’s questions?
    • A: The apparitions include a floating head, a bloody child, a crowned child with a tree, and a procession of eight kings with Banquo’s ghost at the end.
  6. Q: What warning does the floating head give to Macbeth?
    • A: The floating head warns Macbeth to beware of Macduff.
  7. Q: What assurance does the bloody child give Macbeth?
    • A: The bloody child tells Macbeth that no one born of a woman can harm him.
  8. Q: What condition does the crowned child with a tree set for Macbeth’s safety?
    • A: The crowned child with a tree says Macbeth is safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill.
  9. Q: What does the procession of eight kings symbolize?
    • A: The procession symbolizes future kings, with Banquo’s ghost at the end, implying Banquo’s descendants will inherit the throne.
  10. Q: What does Macbeth plan to do after learning about Macduff’s departure for England?
    • A: Macbeth plans to send murderers to capture Macduff’s castle and kill his family as an act of revenge and to eliminate a potential threat.

Macbeth Act 4 Scene 2

Act IV – Scene II

At Macduff’s castle, Lady Macduff questions Ross about her husband’s departure, feeling abandoned. Ross advises her to trust Macduff’s judgment, but she remains upset. Lady Macduff tells her son that his father is dead, but he disagrees. Suddenly, a messenger warns Lady Macduff of danger and urges her to flee. She protests her innocence, but a group of murderers enters. Her son calls one of them a liar, and the murderer stabs him. Lady Macduff runs, and the killers chase her.

Questions on Macbeth Act 4 Scene 2

  1. Q: Who is Lady Macduff questioning about her husband’s departure at the beginning of this scene?
    • A: Lady Macduff is questioning Ross, a nobleman, about her husband Macduff’s departure.
  2. Q: What advice does Ross give to Lady Macduff regarding Macduff’s absence?
    • A: Ross advises Lady Macduff to trust Macduff’s judgment and actions.
  3. Q: How does Lady Macduff react to Ross’s advice?
    • A: Lady Macduff remains upset and feels abandoned by her husband.
  4. Q: What does Lady Macduff tell her son about his father, Macduff?
    • A: Lady Macduff tells her son that his father is dead, but he disagrees and doubts her words.
  5. Q: What unexpected danger does the messenger warn Lady Macduff about, and how does she respond?
    • A: The messenger warns Lady Macduff of danger and urges her to flee, but she protests her innocence before a group of murderers enters her castle.

Macbeth Act 4 Scene 3

Act IV – Scene III

In England, Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty by pretending to be an unfit ruler. He admits to various vices and questions his own worthiness to rule. Macduff initially disagrees but eventually exclaims his loyalty to Scotland, leading Malcolm to trust him. Malcolm then reveals that he was testing Macduff’s loyalty. A doctor briefly appears, mentioning King Edward’s miraculous healing abilities.

Ross arrives from Scotland and tells Macduff that his wife and children are well. He urges Malcolm to return to Scotland and lists the troubles caused by Macbeth’s rule. Malcolm promises to return with English forces. Ross sadly informs Macduff that Macbeth has murdered his family. Macduff is devastated but vows to seek revenge against Macbeth.

Questions on Macbeth Act 4 Scene 3

  1. Q: How does Malcolm test Macduff’s loyalty in England?
    • A: Malcolm pretends to be an unfit ruler, admitting to various vices and questioning his own worthiness to rule.
  2. Q: How does Macduff initially respond to Malcolm’s portrayal of himself as a bad ruler?
    • A: Macduff initially disagrees with Malcolm’s portrayal and expresses his doubt.
  3. Q: What statement from Macduff eventually convinces Malcolm of his loyalty?
    • A: Macduff exclaims his loyalty to Scotland, which leads Malcolm to trust him.
  4. Q: What does Malcolm reveal after testing Macduff’s loyalty?
    • A: Malcolm reveals that he was testing Macduff’s loyalty and was not being truthful about his own character.
  5. Q: Who briefly appears and mentions King Edward’s miraculous healing abilities?
    • A: A doctor briefly appears and mentions King Edward’s miraculous healing abilities.
  6. Q: Who arrives from Scotland with news about Macduff’s family?
    • A: Ross arrives from Scotland and informs Macduff that his wife and children are well.
  7. Q: What is the state of Scotland under Macbeth’s rule, according to Ross?
    • A: Ross lists the troubles and suffering caused by Macbeth’s rule in Scotland.
  8. Q: What does Malcolm promise to do after hearing about the state of Scotland?
    • A: Malcolm promises to return to Scotland with English forces to overthrow Macbeth.
  9. Q: What devastating news does Ross deliver to Macduff?
    • A: Ross informs Macduff that Macbeth has murdered his family.
  10. Q: How does Macduff respond to the news of his family’s murder?
    • A: Macduff is devastated by the news but vows to seek revenge against Macbeth for his heinous actions.


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