Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia.
Act I[ edit ] The play opens amid thunder and lightning, and the Three Witches decide that their next meeting will be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded sergeant reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth, who is the Thane of Glamis, and Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the traitorous Macdonwald, and the Thane of Cawdor.
Macbeth, the King's kinsman, is praised for his bravery and fighting prowess. In the following scene, Macbeth and Banquo discuss the weather and their victory.
As they wander onto a heath, the Three Witches enter and greet them with prophecies. Though Banquo challenges them first, they address Macbeth, hailing him as "Thane of Glamis," "Thane of Cawdor," and that he will "be King hereafter. When Banquo asks of his own fortunes, the witches respond paradoxically, saying that he will be less than Macbeth, yet happier, less successful, yet more.
He will father a line of kings, though he himself will not be one. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the witches vanish, and another thane, Ross, arrives and informs Macbeth of his newly bestowed title: The first prophecy is thus fulfilled, and Macbeth, previously sceptical, immediately begins to harbour ambitions of becoming king.
King Duncan welcomes and praises Macbeth and Banquo, and declares that he will spend the night at Macbeth's castle at Inverness ; he also names his son Malcolm as his heir.
Macbeth sends a message ahead to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches' prophecies. Lady Macbeth suffers none of her husband's uncertainty and wishes him to murder Duncan in order to obtain kingship.
When Macbeth arrives at Inverness, she overrides all of her husband's objections by challenging his manhood and successfully persuades him to kill the king that very night. He and Lady Macbeth plan to get Duncan's two chamberlains drunk so that they will black out; the next morning they will blame the chamberlains for the murder.
They will be defenceless as they will remember nothing. Act II[ edit ] While Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him, despite his doubts and a number of supernatural portents, including a hallucination of a bloody dagger. He is so shaken that Lady Macbeth has to take charge.
In accordance with her plan, she frames Duncan's sleeping servants for the murder by placing bloody daggers on them. A porter opens the gate and Macbeth leads them to the king's chamber, where Macduff discovers Duncan's body.
Macbeth murders the guards to prevent them from professing their innocence, but claims he did so in a fit of anger over their misdeeds.
Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland, respectively, fearing that whoever killed Duncan desires their demise as well. The rightful heirs' flight makes them suspects and Macbeth assumes the throne as the new King of Scotland as a kinsman of the dead king.
Banquo reveals this to the audience, and while sceptical of the new King Macbeth, he remembers the witches' prophecy about how his own descendants would inherit the throne; this makes him suspicious of Macbeth. Act III[ edit ] Despite his success, Macbeth, also aware of this part of the prophecy, remains uneasy.
Macbeth invites Banquo to a royal banquetwhere he discovers that Banquo and his young son, Fleance, will be riding out that night. Fearing Banquo's suspicions, Macbeth arranges to have him murdered, by hiring two men to kill them, later sending a Third Murderer. The assassins succeed in killing Banquo, but Fleance escapes.
At a banquet, Macbeth invites his lords and Lady Macbeth to a night of drinking and merriment. Banquo's ghost enters and sits in Macbeth's place.
Macbeth raves fearfully, startling his guests, as the ghost is only visible to him. The others panic at the sight of Macbeth raging at an empty chair, until a desperate Lady Macbeth tells them that her husband is merely afflicted with a familiar and harmless malady. The ghost departs and returns once more, causing the same riotous anger and fear in Macbeth.
This time, Lady Macbeth tells the lords to leave, and they do so. To answer his questions, they summon horrible apparitions, each of which offers predictions and further prophecies to put Macbeth's fears at rest.
First, they conjure an armoured head, which tells him to beware of Macduff IV. Second, a bloody child tells him that no one born of a woman will be able to harm him.
Thirdly, a crowned child holding a tree states that Macbeth will be safe until Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth is relieved and feels secure because he knows that all men are born of women and forests cannot move. Macbeth also asks whether Banquo's sons will ever reign in Scotland: Macbeth realises that these are all Banquo's descendants having acquired kingship in numerous countries.Shakespeare’s play about a Scottish nobleman and his wife who murder their king for his throne charts the extremes of ambition and guilt.
First staged in , Macbeth’s three witches and other dark imagery have entered our collective imagination. Read a character analysis of Macbeth, plot summary, and important quotes.
- Macbeth's Downfall in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In the tragic play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, the protagonist Macbeth is an extremely ambitious character for whom there is nothing more important than the throne of Scotland, for which he will even walk over corpses.
Importance of the Witches Prophecies in Macbeth - Macbeth is a play written by Shakespeare that is set in eleventh century Scotland. In the play, the witches give Macbeth numerous prophecies that are malicious designs to provoke Macbeth towards his demise.
- Dynamic Relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth An important factor in Shakespeare’s tragic play, Macbeth is the changing relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth throughout the play.
At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is the dominant character in the relationship. - Macbeth's Downfall in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In the tragic play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, the protagonist Macbeth is an extremely ambitious character for whom there is nothing more important than the throne of Scotland, for which he will even walk over corpses.
Lady Macbeth speaks these words in Act 1, scene 5, lines 36–52, as she awaits the arrival of King Duncan at her castle. We have previously seen Macbeth’s uncertainty about whether he should take the crown by killing Duncan.