Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 6 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 6 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 6 Full Summary | Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 6 Summary

King Duncan, his sons (Malcolm and Donalbain), Banquo, Ross, Lennox, Angus, Macduff, and others arrive at Macbeth’s castle.

Note: Most people imagine stone castles when they think of Duncan’s and Macbeth’s castles, but historians agree that their castles were probably made of wood. They were much quicker to build, and their protection was needed.

King Duncan says Macbeth’s castle is in a good location and he likes the sweet, fresh air. Banquo agrees and says that house martins (small birds) have built their nests everywhere on the castle.

Banquo says the martins like the breezes (soft winds), and so they make their beds and cradles for their young. Lady Macbeth comes to greet King Duncan, the nobles, and attendants.

King Duncan greets Lady Macbeth, joking that his people love him and go to a lot of trouble for him which makes him troubled that they take trouble for him.

He knows his people take the trouble to prepare for him because they love him, and he thanks them for their love. Duncan jokes that he is explaining, so he will not have to thank Lady Macbeth for her work. She will thank God and Duncan for his royal visit to her home.

Lady Macbeth tells King Duncan that he has given her and her husband so many honors both long ago and recently that even if she and Macbeth could double and then double again the service they have done for their king, they could not equal the honors he has given to them.

Lady Macbeth tells Duncan that because of the honors he has given her and Macbeth, they will “rest” his “hermits.” (The hermits, men he has paid to pray for him, will have no need to pray for him because she and Macbeth will pray for him.

This is an example of dramatic irony because her words are the exact opposite of what Lady Macbeth plans. She will not pray for King Duncan’s health. She will help kill him!) Duncan asks where the Thane of Cawdor (Macbeth) is.

The king says that he rode fast to try to catch or pass Macbeth, but Macbeth had great love, love that was as sharp as his spur for his horse, that made him get home quickly. Duncan calls Lady Macbeth his “fair and noble hostess” and says he is her guest.

Note: Shakespeare is telling us, through Duncan, that love and pain can make humans and animals do things. He is also spurred showing how safe King Duncan feels to be a shoe guest at his cousin’s home.

Lady Macbeth tells King Duncan that she and Macbeth are his servants. Everything they have, they count as his. He may count what they have and get it all back when he wants.

Duncan asks Lady Macbeth to give her his hand and lead him to Macbeth whom the king says he loves.

Note: Of course, the king has no idea he is holding hands with a woman who plans to kill him.

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