The Tragedy of MacBeth

by William Shakespeare

The Tragedy of MacBeth

Macbeth is among the best known of William Shakespeare’s plays, as well as his shortest surviving tragedy. It is frequently performed at professional and community theatres around the world. The play, loosely based upon the historical account of King Macbeth of Scotland by Raphael Holinshed and the Scottish philosopher Hector Boece, is often seen as an archetypal tale of the dangers of the lust for power and betrayal of friends. It has frequently been adapted. In the theatrical world, many superstitions are associated with “Macbeth,” all connected with the belief that the play is somehow “cursed.” Many actors will not mention the name of the play aloud, referring to it as “the Scottish Play”.

Source: Richard Grant White, ed. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (New York: Sully and Kleinteich)

Macbeth: Cast of Characters
The Cast of Characters is presented
Act 1, Scene 1
The three witches meet to discuss Macbeth.
Act 1, Scene 2
Duncan is told of Macbeth's heroics and elevates his title.
Act 1, Scene 3
Macbeth is confronted by the three witches who tell him of his future. Macbeth and Banquo receive news from Ross.
Act 1, Scene 4
Duncan shows gratitude to Macbeth and Banquo before announcing his heir to the throne.
Act 1, Scene 5
Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband reporting recent events. Lady Macbeth has plans of her own for Macbeth.
Act 1, Scene 6
Duncan arrives at Macbeth's castle and is greeted by Lady Macbeth.
Act 1, Scene 7
Macbeth changes his mind but is eventually persuaded by Lady Macbeth to proceed as planned.
Act 2, Scene 1
Banquo and his son, Fleance, arrive at Macbeth's castle. Macbeth head towards Duncan's room.
Act 2, Scene 2
Macbeth carries out the plan with some help from Lady Macbeth.
Act 2, Scene 3
Macduff and Lennox arrive to talk with Duncan, resulting in the discovery of Duncan's body. Macbeth takes revenge on the accused. Malcolm and Donaldbain make hasty plans to ensure their safety.
Act 2, Scene 4
Ross and an old man discuss the series of strange events that have occurred. Macduff informs Ross of Macbeth's new title.
Act 3, Scene 1
Banquo ponders the prophecies of the witches as he waits for the coronation. Macbeth makes plans for Banquo and Fleance.
Act 3, Scene 2
Macbeth makes a request of Lady Macbeth in regards to Banquo.
Act 3, Scene 3
Macbeth's betrayal of Banquo does not go as planned.
Act 3, Scene 4
Macbeth is angered by news of Fleance's escape, has an unexpected dinner guest, and makes plans to visit the witches to learn more of the future.
Act 3, Scene 5
Hecate meets with the witches, who make further plans for the manipulation of Macbeth.
Act 3, Scene 6
Lennox and another lord ponder the fate of the kingdom, expressing hope that Macduff will be successful in his endeavors.
Act 4, Scene 1
Hecate commends the witches before the Macbeth's arrival. Macbeth is shown prophecies of the future. Lennox arrives with news of Macduff.
Act 4, Scene 2
Lady Macduff receives a warning but still falls prey to Macbeth's plan.
Act 4, Scene 3
Macduff meets with Malcolm in England. Macduff receives word of his families fate.
Act 5, Scene 1
The doctor is witness to Lady Macbeth''s strange behavior.
Act 5, Scene 2
The English and Scottish armies meet in Birnam Wood.
Act 5, Scene 3
Macbeth prepares for a battle he believes he can not lose. Lady Macbeth continues to suffer from delusions.
Act 5, Scene 4
Malcolm and Siward devise a plan to disguise the size of their army.
Act 5, Scene 5
Macbeth is shaken after receiving news of the Queen's fate and the strange events in Birnam Wood.
Act 5, Scene 6
The battle commences and the English soldiers draw their swords.
Act 5, Scene 7
Macbeth fights the battle believing himself to be invincible. Malcolm continues to pursue Macbeth, finally following him into the castle.
Act 5, Scene 8
Macduff confronts Macbeth in the castle. Macbeth's death is celebrated as the new king of Scotland is declared.
  • Year Published: 1607
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 11.0
  • Word Count: 18,731
  • Genre: Tragedy
  • Keywords: betrayal, cast, characters, envy, murder, power, revenge, tragedy
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