Macbeth Study Guide

Macbeth

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth is a Shakespearian tragedy about Macbeth, a nobleman and renowned warrior. After witches inform him that he will be king, he travels with his companion Banquo to King Duncan's castle. Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth, convinces him to kill Duncan and he obeys. After killing Banquo and others, Banquo's ghost returns to the castle, haunting Macbeth. Macbeth receives a tragic prophesy from the witches, Lady Macbeth kills herself out of guilt and King Duncan's son, Prince Malcom, invades the kingdom and kills Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth appears after Macbeth has left on comments on how clever she is. She ponders Macbeth’s cry in the dark and the fact that he could easily have made a mistake. She muses on how she could have killed the King herself when preparing the daggers for the chamberlains, but could not because he looked so much like her father sleeping. When finally Macbeth returns, his hands are bloodiedand he is visibly shaken. He notes how he heard the chamberlains wake and say a prayer, unable himself to say Amen to the prayer. He also notes how he believed he heard a voice invoke his crime after he had killed the king. At first Lady Macbeth tries to sooth her husband but soon becomes angry after realizing that he failed to leave the daggers on the chamberlains to frame them for the murder. He refuses to go back to the room again, forcing her to plant the daggers herself. He begins to hear knocking on the doors, sure that he’s been found out and begins worrying of his horrible deed. Shefinally returns and takes him to wash the blood from his hands, stating ironically that a simple wash of the hands clears them of the deed.

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