• If you could be told your
future, would you want to
know what it is?
• What would you think if you
were told you were going to
be rich, famous, and
• Would you kill in order to
make that future come true?
• This is the premise of William
• Macbeth is Shakespeare’s most
violent, gripping play. It seethes with
tension, the plot is swift and
unrelenting, and the drama still has the
power to seize audience’s imaginations.
• Additionally, the inclusion of
supernatural elements, and the ghostly
apparitions that appear throughout
Macbeth make this one of
Shakespeare’s most thrilling
• Macbeth’s powerful prose, vivid
characters, and a fitting ending are only
a few of the reasons this play ranks as
one of Shakespeare’s most popular and
• The play “Macbeth” takes place in
Scotland, in the 11th Century.
• Scotland is ruled by a benevolent
king, Duncan, and lower nobles, called
• “Thane” was the title given to a local royal
official in medieval eastern
Scotland, equivalent to a count.
• At the beginning of the play, Macbeth (the
Thane of Glamis), and his friend and
comrade Banquo, are coming back
victorious from a great battle, in which the
Thane of Cawdor has formed a rebellion
and tried to seize the throne.
• Macbeth valiantly fights in the
battle, single-handedly winning the day.
• On the way home, Macbeth and Banquo
are met by a trio of three women who
greet Macbeth by the prophecy that he
will be King one day. (video) Banquo is
told that while he will not be king, his
sons will inherit the throne.
• Consumed with ambitious thoughts and
goaded to action by his wife, Macbeth
murders King Duncan while he sleeps
and seizes the throne for himself.
• He begins his reign racked with guilt and
fear and soon becomes a tyrannical ruler,
as he is forced to commit more and more
murders to protect himself from enmity
and suspicion. The bloodbath swiftly
propels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to
arrogance, madness, and death.
• Macbeth was most likely written in 1606,
early in the reign of James I, who had
been James VI of Scotland before he
succeeded to the English throne in 1603.
• James was a patron of Shakespeare’s
acting company, and of all the plays
Shakespeare wrote under James’s
reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the
playwright’s close relationship with the
• In focusing on Macbeth, a figure from
Scottish history, Shakespeare paid
homage to his king’s Scottish lineage.
• Macbeth was first published in the first
folio, in 1623.
• Macbeth - Macbeth is a Scottish general
and the thane of Glamis who is led to
wicked thoughts by the prophecies of the
• Lady Macbeth - Macbeth’s wife, a
deeply ambitious woman who lusts for
power and position.
• The Three Witches - Three “black and
midnight hags” who plot mischief against
Macbeth using charms, spells, and
• Banquo - The brave, noble general
whose children, according to the witches’
prophecy, will inherit the Scottish throne.
• King Duncan - The good King of Scotland whom Macbeth, in his ambition for the
crown, murders. Duncan is the model of a virtuous, benevolent, and farsighted ruler. His
death symbolizes the destruction of an order in Scotland that can be restored only when
Duncan’s line, in the person of his son Malcolm, once more occupies the throne.
• Macduff - A Scottish nobleman hostile to Macbeth’s kingship from the start. He
eventually becomes a leader of the crusade to unseat Macbeth. The crusade’s mission is
to place the rightful king, Malcolm, on the throne, but Macduff also desires vengeance for
Macbeth’s murder of Macduff’s wife and young son.
• Malcolm - The son of Duncan, whose restoration to the throne signals Scotland’s return
to order following Macbeth’s reign of terror. Malcolm becomes a serious challenge to
Macbeth with Macduff’s aid (and the support of England). Prior to this, he appears weak
and uncertain of his own power, as when he and Donalbain flee Scotland after their
• The main theme of Macbeth is the
destruction and bloodshed that occurs
when ambition and greed overcome
• Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general
who is not naturally inclined to commit evil
deeds, yet he deeply desires power and
advancement. He kills King Duncan
against his better judgment and afterward
stews in guilt and paranoia.
• Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues
her goals with greater determination, yet
she is less capable of withstanding the
repercussions of her immoral acts.
• Visions and hallucinations recur throughout
• When he is about to kill Duncan, Macbeth
sees a dagger floating in the air. Covered
with blood and pointed toward the king’s
chamber, the dagger represents the bloody
course on which Macbeth is about to
• Later, he sees Banquo’s ghost sitting in a
chair at a feast, pricking his conscience by
mutely reminding him that he murdered his
• Lady Macbeth also eventually gives way to
visions, as she sleepwalks and believes that
her hands are stained with blood that cannot
be washed away by any amount of water.
• Prophecy sets Macbeth’s plot in motion—
namely, the witches’ prophecy that
Macbeth will become first thane of Cawdor
and then king.
• The weird sisters make a number of other
prophecies: they tell us that Banquo’s heirs
will be kings, that Macbeth should beware
Macduff, that Macbeth is safe till Birnam
Wood comes to Dunsinane, and that no
man born of woman can harm Macbeth.
• Save for the prophecy about Banquo’s
heirs, all of these predictions are fulfilled
within the course of the play.
• Still, it is left deliberately ambiguous
whether some of them are self-fulfilling—
for example, whether Macbeth wills himself
to be king or is fated to be king.
• Additionally, the prophecies must be
interpreted as riddles, since they do not
always mean what they seem to mean.
"There's daggers in men's smiles".
Act II, Sc. III
“What's done is done".
Act III, Scene II
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair".
Act I, Scene I
"I bear a charmed life".
Act V, Sc. VIII
"Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness."
Act I, Scene V
"Will all great Neptune's ocean
wash this blood clean from my hand?”
Act II, Sc. II
"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
Act IV, Scene I
"Look like the innocent flower,
but be the serpent under 't."
Act I, Scene V
"Is this a dagger which I see before me, The
handle toward my hand?"
Act II, Scene I
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the
last syllable of recorded time; And all our
yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking
shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Act V, Scene V
“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something
wicked this way comes.”
Act IV, Scene I
• Probably the most well known theatre
superstition involves William Shakespeare's
play, Macbeth -- often called, by actors, 'the
bards play' or 'the Scottish play'.
• The superstition follows that any company
performing the play will be beset with
horrible luck, ranging anywhere from
uncanny accidents on the set to actual
deaths within the company!
• This superstition arose from the inclusion of
the witch’s characters on stage, and the
chants and incantations they invoke.
• The superstition is so prevalent that many
actors and directors will not even say the
name “Macbeth” inside a theater, for fear of
bringing back luck upon the company.
• Macbeth has become one of Shakespeare’s
most influential works. It’s been adapted
into ballets and operas.
• There have been over sixty film and
television adaptions of Macbeth, the first in
• Other notable film adaptions are the 1948
Orson Welles adaption;
• The 1957 adaption Throne Of Blood which
takes place in feudal Japan;
• A 1979 TV adaption with Ian McKellan and
• And a 2008 TV adaption starring Patrick
• There has even been a 2012 animated
science fiction version of Macbeth entirely
A Nutsy the Squirrel Production
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