Macbeth Study Guide


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.

Back at the castle, Macbeth and his wife welcome the Scottish noble persons to the feast. Directly before the feast, Macbeth is approached by the murderers and told of what has happened with Banquo and his son. He recomposes himself and returns to the feast where he raises an imaginary toast to his friend. He then sees the ghost of Banquo and much like with the visage of the dagger, he starts to feel the pressure of the acts he has performed and their relevant effects on his life. He is at alternating times courageous and depressed, unsure of himself and losing his tenuous grip on reality. Lady Macbeth attempts to sooth him, sending away the noblemen and trying to calm him Macbeth however is already planning to murder Macduff and declares his intentions to go and see the three witches once more for advice and prophecies. He decides that Macduff’s actions border on treason as he plans to stay away from court and keep his own counsel.

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