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Macbeth the play by William Shakespeare

Text - script of the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Introduction - The play and the image displayed in the picture

This section is dedicated to Macbeth, the play by William Shakespeare. The

picture is 18th century and image displayed represents the essence of the play which, we

hope, will bring to life a famous scene or character from the play. The information

provided in this section of william-shakespeare.info includes famous quotes / quotations,

summary of the plot or story, facts about the play, a list of the cast and characters and

access to the full text - script of the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story

A thunderstorm and three witches conclude a meeting. They decide to

confront the great Scottish general Macbeth on his victorious return from a war

between Scotland and Norway. The Scottish king, Duncan, decides that he will confer

the title of the traitorous Cawdor on the heroic Macbeth.

Macbeth, and another General called Banquo, happen upon the three witches.

The witches predict that he will one day become king. They also predict that Banquo
will beget a line of kings, although will not ascend the throne himself. King Duncan

arranges to visit him at his castle. Macbeth cannot stop thinking about the witches'

prediction that he will become king and decides that he will murder Duncan. Macbeth's

wife agrees to his plan.

Duncan arrives at the castle with his entourage but he has second thoughts

about the murder plot. The forceful Lady Macbeth holds him to his vow to kill Duncan

and further encourages him. She then summons evil spirits to "unsex" her and fortify

her with cruelty. He then murders Duncan assisted by his wife who smears the blood of

Duncan on the daggers of the sleeping guards.

A nobleman called Macduff discovers the body. Before investigation can take

place Macbeth kills the guards insisting that their daggers smeared with Duncan's blood

are proof that they committed the murderous crime. Duncan's sons, Malcolm and

Donalbain, do not believe their father, however, fearing for their lives, they flee

Scotland. This makes them appear guilty so the crown passes to Macbeth.

He remembers the prophecy of the witches that Banquo will beget a line of

kings So he sends hired assassins to murder Banquo and his sons Donalbain and

Fleance. Fleance, is the only one to escape with his life.


At a feast the bloodied ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth but to no one else

causing Macbeth to act and speak strangely. His wife sends the guests away.

Macbeth plagued by the fear of being discovered begins to suspect that Macduff,

a nobleman who refused to attend the feast suspects him. He meets with the witches

again and they confirm that he has good reason to fear Macduff but they soothe his

fears by telling him that no born of woman can harm him.

After meeting with the witches he learns that Macduff is urging Duncan's son,

Malcolm, to reclaim the throne. In revenge, he has Macduff's wife and son murdered.

Macduff organizes an army to bring down Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth's conscience now begins to torture her and she imagines

that she can see her hands covered with blood. She commits suicide.

Macbeth meets Macduff in hand-to-hand combat confident that he will win the

day because ''none born of woman'' can harm him. Macduff then reveals that he was

not ''of woman born'' but was ''untimely ripp'd'' from his mother's womb. Macduff

kills Macbeth and the witches prediction proves true. Malcolm becomes king. The

themes discussed are ambition, fate, deception and treachery.


nformation provided about the play

William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of

the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays

were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous

publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during

the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven

years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John

Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of

William’s plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are

substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays

appeared in print.

Date first performed

It is believed that Macbeth was first performed between 1605 and 1606. In this era

there was a huge demand for new entertainment and the drama would have been

produced immediately following the completion of the play. Shakespeare knew that a

play featuring witches would attract theatregoers and increase his audience and

revenue. He would also have been aware that King James I was extremely interested in

witches and sorcery, having written a book called Daemonologie (Demonology)

describing the demonic rites of witches. Shakespeare really could not lose with Macbeth

when it was performed in 1605, two years after James acceded to the throne of England.
Date first printed
It is believed that Macbeth was first printed in 1623. As William Shakespeare clearly
did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted,
and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings
The settings are Scotland and England.

The theme
The play Macbeth is categorised as a Tragedy

Number of words
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is
18,301

Most important characters


The most important characters are:
Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the three witches

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