The Tragedy of Macbeth


A general in the Scottish army, Macbeth is returning from battle when he is confronted by three witches who prophesize his ascension to the throne of Scotland. Aided by his wife, Macbeth savagely pursues his dreams of power as his world slowly crumbles around him.

A general in the Scottish army, Macbeth is returning from a victorious battle when he is confronted by three witches in the middle of an empty wasteland. Before vanishing, the witches predict that Macbeth will be crowned Thane of Cawdor and eventually, King of Scotland.

No sooner does Macbeth arrive at home than word reaches him that he has been bestowed the title of Thane of Cawdor by the King for his valiant efforts in battle. Spurred by this partial realization of the prophecy, Macbeth decides to murder the King and fulfill the rest of the prophecy. As Act I, scene 7 opens, Macbeth finds his resolve to kill the King wavering - however, his wife admonishes him to “screw his courage to the sticking place” and proceed with the plan.

Act II, scene 2 begins with Lady Macbeth impatiently waiting for her husband’s return from the murder. When he finally does, she finds him paralyzed with fear and unable to carry out the rest of the plot. As such, she takes the bloody daggers from her husband and plants them on the sleeping grooms (guards) whom she had drugged earlier.

At the top of Act V, sc VIII, Macbeth has indeed become king but the truth behind the murders has come to light. His rival, Macduff, has besieged the castle, looking for the murderer - however, Macbeth believes himself invincible until he discovers Macduff’s true origins and the rest of the prophecy is fullfilled.

MACBETH - As the Thane of Glamis, Macbeth is a brilliant general in the Scottish army whose bravery and accomplishments on the battlefield have afforded him numerous accolades. However, his true dark nature is revealed after he encounters 3 witches who predict his eventual ascension to the throne. Spurred by the witches’ prophesy and aided by his scheming wife, Macbeth murders the King of Scotland and assumes the throne. Unfortunately for all, Macbeth proves to be a poor statesman and instead resorts to violence and murder to solve his growing problems. For all of his external fierceness and savagery, he harbors deep seated insecurities and often turns to his wife for support.

LADY MACBETH - The wife of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is ambitious, ruthless and a master manipulator. Determined to help her husband fulfill the prophesy of the witches and become king, she soothes Macbeth’s every fear and turns his indecision into action. Not afraid to get her own hands dirty, she demonstrates a deadly resolve and refuses to let anything stand in her way. Beautiful, confident, charming and intelligent, there is also a mental fragility to her which is increasingly revealed as her problems mount.

THE WITCHES - Elemental spirts who practice dark magic, the witches offer multiple prophecies to Macbeth throughout the play. Indeed, their first prediction that Macbeth will be named the Thane of Cawdor comes true without any assistance from Macbeth. Encouraged by the realization of this first prophecy, Macbeth decides to ensure that the second prophecy comes true as well – namely, that Macbeth will become King of Scotland. Following his ascension to the throne, the witches offer 3 warnings to Macbeth. First, Macbeth should beware another Scottish general named Macduff. Second, he can never be harmed by any man naturally born of a woman. Finally, he shall never be defeated until the forest outside his castle begins to physically advance on his castle. While the true nature of the witches is never revealed, the witches (or weird sisters) are stated servants of Hecate and seem to delight in causing humans despair.

MACDUFF - Brave, fiercely loyal to Scotland and a loving family man, Macduff is a Scottish nobleman and general whose skill and prowess on the battlefield are well known. When Macbeth murders Macduff’s wife and young son, Macduff leads the uprising to overthrow Macbeth and bring the bloody tyrant to justice.