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.

Banquo enters and muses on the prophecies of the three witches. The first two have come true now and so he wonders if the third might be a possibility and that his sons will some day sit on the throne. The stir of ambition begins to appear for Banquo as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in their royal attire appear, inviting Banquo to the feast for the evening. Banquo accepts and tells Macbeth of the ride he plans to go on later that day. Macbeth mentions to Banquo that they must discuss the matter of Duncan’s sons who have fled and are likely plotting against the crown. Banquo leaves the room and Macbeth discusses a few smaller matters of state with his servant before he departs as well. At this point, Macbeth begins a soliloquy on the matter of Banquo and the succession. He worries that he will notproduce an heir and that Banquo’s sons will overthrow him later, taking the throne as the witches foresaw. Macbeth’s servant reenters with the murderers he has hired and reminds them of the “wrongs” committed against them by Banquo and they agree once more to kill Macbeth’s former comrade. He reminds them to also kill Fleance, Banquo’s son and they depart.

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