SCENE ONE: SCOTLAND
"Who is this man?" asked King Duncan as he, his son Malcolm and the other Scottish nobles in his group approached the wounded soldier. "He's one of your captains. He fought courageously with your army and didn't let the rebels take me prisoner," answered Malcolm. The king knelt beside the wounded mano "Captain, how was the battlegoing before you left?" The man replied, "The traitor Macdonwald arrived at the battlefield with a large army. In spite of their superior numbers, Macbeth was determined to win the battle. He fought bravely and inspired us to do the same. When he found Macdonwald on the battlefield, he cut him in two. The traitor's head was placed on a spear; it now adorns the entrance to our campo Before yourejoice at this news, Your Highness, I must inform you that the battle is not yet won. Just when we thought we were victorious, Sweno, the King of Norway, began a new assault against us with a bigger, greater army. I could see despair in our generals' eyes. Macbeth and Banquo fought bravely, though they knew their cause was lost. I'm too weak now to give you any more news. I have lost too much blood.Please, attend to my wounds." "Take this man to our doctors," said Duncan to the nobles. At that moment a noble called Ross ran into the clearing and cried, "God save the King!" "Where have you come from?" asked Duncan. "From the battlefield, Your Highness. Although the King of Norway arrived with greater numbers, and although he had the aid of the traitorous Thane of Cawdor, we have won thebattle!"
"The King of Norway admits defeat and wants to sign the peace treaty with YOU. The Thane of Cawdor is now our prisoner." "He'll pay for his treason with his life," said Duncan. "Ross, go and find Macbeth. Inform him of our victory. Tell him he will be Thane of Cawdor. He has won the title which the traitor has lost." ACTI
Macbeth and Banquo were walking back through thewoods towards their encampment. Banquo stopped suddenly. "Who are those three women? They seem to have appeared from nowhere. Are they spirits?" "What are you?" asked Macbeth. He took a step towards them. The three women answered individually. "Hail Macbeth! Thane of Glamis!" "Hail Macbeth! Thane of Cawdor!" "Hail Macbeth! The man who will soon be King of Scotland!" "My lord, why are you trembling?"Banquo asked. He turned to the witches. "You've affected my friend deeply. Are you spirits or humans? If you can predict the future, then tell me what my destiny will be." "Hail!" they cried together; they then began to speak to Banquo one by one. "You are inferior to Macbeth, and yet you are greater." "You are not as fortunate as Macbeth, but you will be more fortunate." "You'll never be king,but you will be the father of kings." "All hail Macbeth and Banquo!" they cried together. "Stay! Tell me more," Macbeth implored. "1 am the Thane
Two SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDIES
of Glamis, but 1'm not the Thane of Cawdor. That title already belongs to another noble, and there's very little chance that 1'11 ever be king. Why have you blocked our path and announced thesestrange prophecies? Te11me!" The three witches disappeared. "Where have they gone?" exclaimed Banquo. "1 don't know." "Did they rea11yexist or did we imagine them?" "Banquo, they said that your sons will be kings." "They predicted that you will be king ... " " ... as we11as the Thane of Cawdor." Macbeth had turned pale. "Who's there?" Banquo asked. He turned as he heard the bushes move behind him. Rossand Angus appeared. "The king has been informed of your brave acts on the battlefield," Ross said to Macbeth. "He is deeply indebted to you and has asked to see you. He has also named you Thane of Cawdor." "That's impossible!" said Macbeth. "The Thane of Cawdor is alive." "He lives ... but not for long," replied Angus. "He's been condemned to death for rebelling against King Duncan. You are the...