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.

Upon his return to the three witches, Macbeth demands a series of apparitions to help him discern his future. The witches comply by offering him three such visions. The first is a disembodied head, bloodied and reminding Macbeth of Macduff, warning Macbeth to beware the fled nobleman. The second is a blood soaked child who comforts Macbeth that he cannot be killed by any man born of woman. The final apparition is a child wearing a crown who says Macbeth will be king until the Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane. Macbeth is encouraged and lightened by this news and asks whether Banquo’s sons will succeed him. The witches respond with an apparition of the procession of kings, with the final king carrying a mirror and the procession ended with Banquo’s ghost. The witches then vanish and Lennox enters with news that Macduff has fled for England. Macbeth decides that he will capture Macduff’s castle and kill his family.

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