Cast of Characters
*Macbeth, Thane of Glamis
*Witches, the Weird Sisters
*Duncan, King of Scotland
*Malcolm, eldest son of Duncan
*Donalbain, younger son of Duncan
*Lennox, a Scottish nobleman
*Ross, a Scottish nobleman
*Angus, a Scottish nobleman
*Banquo, Scottish general
*Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's wife
*Macduff, a Scottish nobleman
*Fleance, son of Banquo
*Servant to Macbeth
*Two Murderers
*The Third Murderer
*Lady Macduff
*Messenger to Lady Macduff
*Menteith, a Scottish nobleman
*Caithness, a Scottish nobleman
*Seyton, attendant to Macbeth
*Siward, English general
*Young Siward , Son to Siward
William Shakespear
Act I
Scene I
The three witches plan to meet after the battle, which we find is a rebellion in Scotland.
Scene II
The king and his thanes are at a camp and hear word of the battle from the bleeding sergeant. He says that the battle was doubtful, with Macdonwald receiving reinforcements and luck. However, Macbeth is a good fighter and killed the slave Macdonwald. A second attack by the Norweyan lord angered Macbeth and he met their attacks so the Norwegians got beat badly. The sergeant goes to get some medical attention. Norway and the rebel Thane of Cawdor were met by Macbeth and were defeated. The Norwegian king Sweno was forced to pay ten thousand dollars. Macbeth is given the rebel Cawdor's title.
Scene III
The witches meet again, as planned. One has been killing pigs. Another witch is getting revenge on the captain of the Tiger, who's wife has not given her a chestnut. One witch has the pilot's thumb. Then Macbeth comes. The witches sing a little song. Macbeth comments on the good and bad day, then Banquo sees the witches. They look human in some ways, in other ways they don't. The witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, his current title, as well as Cawdor, which he doesn't know he is to receive, and King, which is a complete shock. Banquo is suprised that Macbeth isn't happy at the prophecy, and asks the witches why they have no prophecy for him. The witches make important predictions to Banquo. They say Banquo's children will become Kings. Macbeth wants to know more. The witches vanish, and Macbeth and Banquo are puzzled. Ross and Angus come. Ross tells them the kind heard of his victory in battle. They tell him the King will honor him in person, but that he has also received the title of Cawdor. Macbeth asks why he is given someone else's title and is told of the treason. Now Macbeth starts thinking the prophecy might come true. Banquo is still worried. Macbeth is scared as he considers killing the king to complete the prophecy. Macbeth comes out of his thinking and thanks the men. He then tells Banquo they will talk later.
Scene IV
The king asks if Cawdor is executed yet and if the people who did it are back yet. Malcolm says they aren't back but someone who saw it said Cawdor confessed and apologized, at peace with himself so that death was not a problem. Duncan makes a comment important to theme, saying he trusted Cawdor, because he was deceptive in the way he acted. When Macbeth arrives, Duncan thanks him for what he did, saying he can never repay him. Macbeth says he was just doing his duty. Duncan says Macbeth will grow, and Banquo will be close to his heart. Banquo also expresses his loyalty, saying the benefit would be for Duncan. Duncan says he is happy despite troubles, and declares his son Malcolm his successor, making Malcolm a problem in Macbeth's getting the throne. Duncan decides to go to Macbeth's castle, and Macbeth goes to tell his wife. Macbeth talks of how he is having dark thoughts about trying to become king. Duncan comments on how great Banquo is and then follows him.
Scene V
Lady Macbeth is reading a letter from Macbeth, which tells about the witches prophecy. Lady Macbeth says that her husband is too nice to get the future he is promised. She decides to help him gain the crown. A messenger tells her the King is coming. Lady Macbeth concludes that Duncan will be killed while staying there. She tries to get rid of all kind thoughts so that she can do the deed. She tells her husband to appear normal, even though he plans to kill the King. She doesn't want him to act strange and draw an investigation.
Scene VI
Duncan talks about how pleasant the castle is. Banquo notes how the birds are abundant, marking it for a nice place. Duncan greets Lady Macbeth, who pledges her loyalty. She leads them into the castle.
Scene VII
Macbeth contemplates the crime and says he should do it soon if he does it. If this was all there was to it, and all he had to worry about was the afterlife, he would do it. He is supposed to be loyal to Duncan as a relative and subject and host. Duncan is such a great leader, whoever kills him will be damned for eternity. Everyone will be sad. There is nothing to make Macbeth do it except ambition. Macbeth doesn't want to kill someone who has done him so well. Lady Macbeth asks what happened to his hope that he had so much. She will not love him if he doesn't do this. Macbeth doesn't want to do it, and Lady Macbeth asks what happened since he was so willing to do it before. She says that if she had sworn to, she would kill a baby suckling at her breast. Lady Macbeth says they won't fail because they will get the King's attendants drunk and make it look like they did it. Macbeth comments on his wife's evil plan, and starts to believe his wife. She says it will look like the servants did it, so Macbeth agrees to do it.

Act II
Scene I
Banquo and Fleance are walking around. Banquo is worried about the dark thoughts in his head. Macbeth comes up and Banquo asks why he isn't sleeping when Duncan went to bed happy and sent them gifts. Macbeth responds that he wasn't as good a host because he was unprepared. Banquo dreamt of the witches and Macbeth says they should talk about that later. Banquo wants to maintain his loyalty to the king. Macbeth dismisses his servant and then imagines a dagger before him, but he isn't sure if it is real. He says it encourages to do the deed, showing him how. In the night, he dreams of Hecate and the witches, of a wolf howling the time for murder. Macbeth finally decides to do the deed.
Scene II
Lady Macbeth says that the alcohol that made the attendants drunk has given her courage. Macbeth is going to kill him as the drunk attendants are passed out. When Macbeth shows up she is afraid they woke up and it didn't work. She would have done it if Duncan didn't look like her father. But he did it, after some trouble. One attendant woke up and said "Murder!" but then they went back to sleep. Macbeth is troubled because he could not say "Amen". Lady Macbeth says not to think that way. Macbeth says he heard a voice saying he murdered sleep, which is described as such a sweet and pleasant thing. She tells him not to think of such sickly things and to wash his hands. She then agrees to put the daggers back, because Macbeth doesn't want to. She will get some blood on the attendants to make them look guilty. Macbeth is troubled by knocking and says that nothing can wash his hands clean, and the blood will make the seas red. Lady Macbeth feels bad to have red hands but to be innocent of the crime itself. She tells him to wash his hands and retire and put on his nightgown so that they will not be suspicious to the watchers. Macbeth wishes he did not know what he had done.
Scene III
The porter hears knocking. He pretends to be the porter of hell, and imagines the sort of people who would come, such as a farmer who didn't get the high prices wanted, a traitor, and a tailor who tried to overprice his garments. Finally he lets Macduff and Lennox in, and they have a discussion about drinking. The porter tells of the effects of alcohol on the body. Macbeth comes and greets Lennox and Macduff. Macbeth leads Macduff to the king. Lennox comments on weird things that happened during the night. Macduff returns, having discovered the murder. He is hysterical. Lady Macbeth comes and asks what is going on. And Macduff tells Banquo when he enters. Macbeth re-enters commenting on how awful life is with the death of his king. Malcolm and Donalbain are then informed what happened. Lennox says it looked like the chamber attendants had done it. Macbeth says that in his fury, he killed the attendants. Malcolm and Donalbain are afraid and agree to leave. Banquo says they should reassemble to investigate the matter.
Scene IV
The old man says this is the worst night he has ever seen. Ross speaks of the battle between light and dark. The old man compares it to an owl killing a falcon. Ross then talks of the mysterious event with the horses of Duncan getting loose and eating each other. Macduff says it is thought the attendants did the murder. He thinks they were paid by Malcolm and Donalbain. Macbeth is said to have gone to Scone to get the crown. Duncan's body is said to be buried. Macduff and Ross say goodbye to each other. The old man says farewell.

Scene I
Banquo comments on how Macbeth has everything he was promised, but he thinks Macbeth gained it through evil. Banquo hopes now that his prophecies will come true and his kids will be kings. Macbeth invites Banquo, his chief guest, to a feast. Banquo and Fleance are riding that afternoon, but can be back by supper. Macbeth says that Malcolm and Donalbain, their cousins whom guilt rests upon, are in England and Ireland but don't admit to the crime. Macbeth says good-bye then tells the servant to fetch the murderers. While waiting, he delivers a soliloquy about how it is insufficient to be king, unless he is secure. He fears Banquo, with his wisdom and temper, will try to unseat him, as the prophecies said his children would be kings. Macbeth fears he has given up his soul and committed an evil act, just to put Banquo's descendants on the throne. He tells fate to fight him to the death. Macbeth has been convincing the murderers that Banquo is a bad person over the course of two earlier meetings. Macbeth tells the murderers they have a special role as men, and the murderers say they have had a rough life and would do anything. Macbeth tells them to kill Banquo, their mutual enemy. He compares is battle with Banquo to fencing, but says he can't kill him himself. He tells them to do it carefully, and to kill Banquo's son Fleance as well.
Scene II
Lady Macbeth sends a servant for Macbeth, then says something that it is no good to be insecure in what you have, and you might as well be destroyed. She asks Macbeth why he is keeping to himself and acting worried when he can't change what he has done. Macbeth says there is still a threat, and he wishes he were one of the dead who are in peace, than have such constant worries. Lady Macbeth tells him to act happy. Macbeth says his wife needs to remember that too, and that they need to flatter Banquo to cover up for their dark plans. Lady Macbeth says not to kill Banquo and that they won't live forever. Macbeth says they can be happy after Banquo and Fleance are dead. Macbeth doesn't want to tell his wife of his plans so that she can be innocent.
Scene III
A murderer appears, claiming to be sent by Macbeth. Banquo approaches and they kill him, but Fleance escapes. They go to tell Macbeth.
Scene IV
At the banquet, they seat themselves according to rank. Lady Macbeth goes to play hostess, while Macbeth meets with the Murderer. He learns Fleance escaped and says he is now surrounded by fears instead of being calm and safe. Macbeth is grateful that at least Banquo is dead, but Fleance will likely return. He tells the murderer they will meet again. Lady Macbeth tells him to be a good host, otherwise the guests might as well be eating at home or paying for the meal. Macbeth then sees a ghost of Banquo sit in his chair. Lady Macbeth tells the guests to wait, that this is just a temporary fit. She tells Macbeth that it is just his imagining from fear. Macbeth says he is just ill and drinks wine to Banquo. He tells the ghost to go away, that it is not real. Lady Macbeth tells the lords to leave after Macbeth continues to act strangely. He wonders then where Macduff is. He says he will go to see the witches again.
Scene V
Hecate is angry because the witches have been dealing with Macbeth without consulting her. She says he will be told his destiny at the cave the next day. The various spells she creates will lure him into a false sense of security. The witches prepare for her return.
Scene VI
Lennox thinks it is suspicious how Macbeth has been acting and how two people killed their fathers. Macduff is reported to be in the English court, rallying forces to remove Macbeth.

Act IV
Scene I
The witches meet again and cook up a spell in their cauldron with all sorts of interesting ingredients. Macbeth approaches them to answer his question. Macbeth wants to hear it from the witches' masters and is greeted by an apparition that can read his mind and answer his question. The armed head represents Macbeth, telling him to beware of Macduff. The bloody child represents Macduff. Macbeth wonder why, then, he should fear Macduff but just to be safe he will kill him anyway. The crowned child is Malcolm, with the tree representing Burnham Wood, and says not to fear until Great Burnham wood moves against him. Macbeth feels safe since a wood can never move and he knows no people not of woman born. He thinks the prophecy is a good and insures him a safe life. Then a line of kings is seen, thought to represent the descendents of Banquo that eventually lead to King James. The last king holds a mirror to make the line seem endless. So Macbeth gets his question answered about Macbeth's descendents and the witches try to cheer him up by dancing. Then they disappear. Lennox tells Macbeth than Lennox has gone to England. He decides to kill Macduff's children.
Scene II
Lady Macduff is wondering why her husband left. She thinks he was mad, looking like a traitor, to leave his family and possessions. Ross tries to comfort her, telling her he knows what is wrong at the moment. People don't know they are traitors, when they know fear. Ross leaves and says he will be back. Lady Macduff has an interesting conversation with her son Sirrah about what they will do without a father. The messenger tells her to leave, that she is in danger. But Lady Macduff doesn't know where to go, and she has done nothing wrong. As she realizes that doing good is sometimes a bad thing, the murderers arrive. The murderers kill the Son, but Lady Macduff escapes.
Scene III
Malcolm says they should find some place to cry, while Macduff says they should defend their native country the way they would a fallen comrade. Scotland is full of cries. Malcolm says this could be true, but he fears that Macduff could betray him to Macbeth for a reward. Malcolm says that even is Macduff isn't a traitor, he is a good leader. He says bad things can look good while good things still look good. Malcolm asks why Macduff left his family. Macduff says he is not a bad person, that the tyrant Macbeth hurts Scotland as legal ruler. Malcolm says he does want to retake Scotland, but then to check still if Macduff is a spy, he lies, saying how he is a man of problems who would be an even worse ruler. At first, Macduff says the troubles won't be a problem, that Scotland can deal with them and that Macbeth is worse. When Malcolm persists, Macduff says that Malcolm is truly unfit to rule and fears for his country. Malcolm then says his fears are not important, and that he really is virtuous person. Macduff says this is hard to deal with all of a sudden. The doctor then talks about how the king is healing people with the evil. Malcolm does not recognize Ross since he's been in England for a while. Ross tells how awful things are in Scotland, but assures Macduff his family is fine. He encourages them to return and save Scotland. Ross then tells Macduff that his family is actually dead. He encourages revenge. Macduff thinks Macbeth wouldn't have killed his son if he had any of his own. They plan to go to Scotland.

Act V
Scene I
The woman who cares for Lady Macbeth has summoned a doctor, but in two nights the reported symptoms of waking up and writing something have not occurred. The doctor says it is a disturbance of nature for her to do such things while appearing to sleep. The woman will not repeat anything Lady Macbeth has said for she is unsure, but then Lady Macbeth appears, carrying a light. Lady Macbeth acts as if washing her hands, seeing a spot of blood. She questions why her husband should be scared, but complains still of the blood that was shed. She is wracked with guilt that troubles her as the two observe. The doctor says she needs the help of God, not a doctor for her troubles.
Scene II
Menteith reports the English forces with the Scottish thanes are near. The revenge they seek is a strong enough cause to raise the dead and wounded. Angus says they will meet at Burnham wood, and Caithness asks if Donalbain is coming. Lennox explains he has a list of everyone, including boys ready to show their manhood in their first battle, and Donalbain is not on the list. Caithness explains that Macbeth is strengthening his castle, and is acting crazy, unable to rule. Angus explains these are the consequences of the murder; people don't willingly follow him and his title means little. Menteith explains Macbeth is afraid of himself, and Caithness compares Malcolm to doctor, and by working with him they will cure their country by shedding their blood.
Scene III
Macbeth is wondering how the prophecy will come true, and tries to remain confident. Macbeth yells at his servant for seeming afraid, but is told of the English forces. Macbeth tells Seyton this revolt will either remove him or leave him happy, as right now he has none of things due a man of old age. Macbeth asks for his armor, planning to defend himself to the end. Macbeth asks the doctor to cure his wife. The doctor wishes he weren't there.
Scene IV
Malcolm hopes to get back the safety they once had. Menteith is sure it will happen. Malcolm tells each soldier to cut down a large tree branch and put it in front of him, to use as camouflage. The scouts will think there are less of them. Macbeth waits in his castle, his only hope of defense. Though they have hopes of what they want to accomplish, now is the time for actual blows and battle to win.
Scene V
Macbeth says let them come to the castle, he can hold them off. If they didn't have his soldiers, then he could have met them on the field and beat them back. Macbeth has forgotten what it is like to be afraid, having as much fear as a man can bear. Macbeth wishes his wife had died later, at a better time. He comments on how life passes at this little speed, with people dying after a good life. Macbeth says the messenger comes to speak, he should give his report quickly. The messenger, unsure of how to report what he saw, says Birnham wood appeared to move thus the prophecy is fulfilled. Macbeth starts wishing this were just all over and prepares for death fighting.
Scene VI
Macolm and Macduff split off from Siward, and they throw down their bows, preparing to fight.
Scene VII
Macbeth knows he is stuck fighting, and he wonders who was not born of woman. Macbeth tells young Siward who he is, and Macbeth says he should be not hateful but fearful to Young Siward's ears. Macbeth says he doesn't fear any not of woman born and kills Young Siward. Macduff says he must kill Macbeth to avenge his family, and only Macbeth. By the noise of Macbeth's armor, he locates him. Siward explains the battle is easy. Malcolm enters the castle.
Scene VII
Macbeth asks why he should kill himself when the wounds he might inflict upon himself would look better to his living enemies. Macbeth says he has avoided Macduff and does not want to kill him after killing his family. Macduff says he will speak with his sword instead of words. Macbeth says the Macduff will not hurt him. Macduff then reveals that he was ripped from his mother's womb while she died. Macbeth is angry to discover that the prophecy will come true and only provided him false hope. Macduff tells him to give up and explains he will be put on a pole and displayed as a tyrant. Macbeth says he will try despite the prophecy rather than yield to Malcolm.
Scene IX
Malcolm wishes no one had to die, but Siward says it is necessary and the cost wasn't that high for such a good day. Ross tells Siward that young Siward, who just became a man in fighting, died. He tells him not to have sorrow, though. Siward says he died well then. Macduff hails Malcolm as king holding Macbeth's head.
Historical Background
*Set in the 11th century
*Scotland at that time, was a violent and troubled country
*Political murder and revenge killings were not unusual means to gain power
*Macbeth was - due to the legend - born in 1005
*Macbeth was most likely written between 1605 and 1606
*Followed the succession of James the Sixth of Scotland (member of the Stuart dynasty) to the English throne, as James the first of England in March 1603
*England was not the industrial, scientific and urban society that it is now; belief in witchcraft was widely spread
*In 1604 the practice of witchcraft became punishable by death, because it was believed that it attempted to change Godís natural order
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