The king’s death becomes widely known.



Guardian of the gates of Macbeth’s castle.


The Thane of Fife. He plans to wake Duncan, but instead discovers his body and vows to get revenge on his killer.


A thane who accompanies Macduff. He tells Macbeth about the bizarre storms he has observed, which he interprets as omens.


Duncan's murderer feigns ignorance and outrage when Duncan’s murder is announced, killing the presumably guilty guards to cover his tracks under the guise of noble revenge.

Lady Macbeth

The lady of the house fakes emotional distress as news of Duncan’s death spreads.


Banquo is horrified by Duncan’s murder and vows to exact revenge against the guilty parties.


A thane and guest of the Macbeths.


Eldest son of Duncan and heir to the Throne of Scotland. Fearing for his life, he escapes to England.


Younger son of Duncan. Fearing for his life, he escapes to Ireland.

Scene Summary

A porter hears knocking at the gate of Macbeth’s castle. It’s Macduff and Lennox, who have come to rouse Duncan. Macbeth arrives and tells them the king is still sleeping. Macduff heads off to wake the king, and promptly returns, screaming bloody murder. He wakes up the whole castle, including Lady Macbeth, who pretends to be shocked and horrified at the news. As planned, everyone suspects Duncan’s servants. Macbeth has gone to see the murder scene for himself, and when he comes back, he tells everyone that he’s killed the servants in a rather swift act of vengeance. Macduff is about to challenge Macbeth on his rash actions when Lady Macbeth fakes a fainting spell and distracts the men. Meanwhile, a horrified Malcolm and Donalbain make plans to flee Scotland. After all, if Duncan is dead, they’re in grave danger.