Golden Recursion Inc. logoGolden Recursion Inc. logo
Advanced Search
Macbeth

Macbeth

Play by william shakespeare

Macbeth, tragedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, written sometime in 1606–07 and published in the First Folio of 1623 from a playbook or a transcript of one. Some portions of the original text are corrupted or missing from the published edition. The play is the shortest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, without diversions or subplots. It chronicles Macbeth’s seizing of power and subsequent destruction, both his rise and his fall the result of blind ambition.

Macbeth and Banquo, who are generals serving King Duncan of Scotland, meet the Weird Sisters, three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will become thane of Cawdor, then king, and that Banquo will beget kings. Soon thereafter Macbeth discovers that he has indeed been made thane of Cawdor, which leads him to believe the rest of the prophecy. When King Duncan chooses this moment to honour Macbeth by visiting his castle of Dunsinane at Inverness, both Macbeth and his ambitious wife realize that the moment has arrived for them to carry out a plan of regicide that they have long contemplated.

Spurred by his wife, Macbeth kills Duncan, and the murder is discovered when Macduff, the thane of Fife, arrives to call on the king. Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee the country, fearing for their lives. Their speedy departure seems to implicate them in the crime, and Macbeth becomes king.

Worried by the witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s heirs instead of Macbeth’s own progeny will be kings, Macbeth arranges the death of Banquo, though Banquo’s son Fleance escapes. Banquo’s ghost haunts Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth is driven to madness by her guilt. The witches assure Macbeth that he will be safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and that no one “of woman born” shall harm him.

Learning that Macduff is joining Malcolm’s army, Macbeth orders the slaughter of Macduff’s wife and children. When the army, using branches from Birnam Wood as camouflage, advances on Dunsinane, Macbeth sees the prophecy being fulfilled: Birnam Wood has indeed come to Dunsinane. Lady Macbeth dies; Macbeth is killed in battle by Macduff, who was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped” by cesarean section and in that quibbling sense was not “of woman born.” Malcolm becomes the rightful king.

Timeline

1623
First publication of the play Macbeth

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Macbeth Act 1 Summary with Key Quotes & English Subtitles

Web

August 26, 2015

Macbeth Act 2 Summary with Key Quotes & English Subtitles

Web

October 2, 2015

Macbeth by William Shakespeare | Characters

Web

June 8, 2018

Macbeth by William Shakespeare | Context

Web

June 8, 2018

Macbeth by William Shakespeare | Summary & Analysis

Web

June 8, 2018

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Anita Singh
September 29, 2021
The Telegraph
The show will be produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, veteran producers of the James Bond franchise, and opens in March

References

Golden logo
By using this site, you agree to our Terms & Conditions.