Brief summary of Shakespeare's Macbeth
Table of Contents
Shakespeare’s main source for the tragedy Macbeth was Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland.
According to some critics the tragedy may have been commissioned by the monarch James II, the successor of Elizabeth the I. He was Scottish, he liked magics and he was intrested in everything connected with magicians and witchcraft, on which he also wrote a book. Macbeth is a tragedy and this tragedy is set in Scotland.
ACT I #
The play is set in Scotland in the 11th century.
Macbeth and his friend Banquo are two generals in the service of Duncan, king of Scotland. They are coming back home from a victorious battle. During the jouney they meet three witches.
Soon after the two had met the witches - that have the gift of prophecy - they are said two prophecies.
- Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland.
- On the other hand, Banquo’s hiers will give Scotland kings.
The first part of the first prophecy becomes reality soon after they come back. Lady Macbeth, playing with the ambitions of her husband, succeds in convincing him to murder the king. Mission successful.
Macbeth’s Wife puts some blood trails near knights so that it seems that they killed him.
ACT II #
Duncan’s sons are called Malcolm and Donalbain. Since they fear for their life, they escape from Scotland. Macbeth becomes the king. Banquo with Macduff suspect Macbeth of being the killer.
ACT III #
Macbeth is worried so he finds no peace. He’s worried about the second part of the prophecy, related to Banquo.
Conquered by fear, he plans to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo gets killed. Fleance survives. GET RATIOED
ACT IV #
Macbeth gets chased by Banquo’s ghost, so he comes back to the witches.
After that, they tell him:
- He will never be defeated by any man woman-born.
- He will be king until the Birnham Wood (forest) moves towards his castle.
Macbeth orders his army to kill Macduff’s wife and sons.
ACT V #
In the meanwhile, lady Macbeth is oppressed by the sense of guilt. Macduff with the help of Malcolm, marches with the newly-made army against Macbeth, disguising themselves as a forest which is moving. Macduff gets into a duel against Macbeth and he discovers that Macduff was born with a caesarean section so according to the witches it was not woman-born. Macbeth gets killed. Malcolm becomes king of Scotland.