Macbeth by William Shakespeare


Macbeth is a classic tragedy play written by William Shakespeare. It was first performed in 1606. The story explains the detrimental physical and psychological effects of a man seeking political power. The play revolves around the brave Scottish general, Macbeth, whose ambition to take the throne dooms him.

Summary :

The play starts with Macbeth and Banquo receiving a prophecy from the trio Witches. They mention that he will be becoming the King of Scotland soon. The witches also suggested in the prophecy that Banquo’s descendant would become the future King of Scotland. As a result, Macbeth becomes overexcited and tells his wife about the prophecy. They both spur to action immediately and do plans for killing the King Duncan. In his efforts to fulfill the prophesy, he starts doing all evil things. His ambitiousness for the throne makes him murder the kind. However, he is not even peaceful after that.

King Duncan’s murder leads his sons to flee for their lives away to Scotland. Ultimately, since there is no rightful heir for the throne, Macbeth is declared and crowned as the King. Thus, it fulfills the Witches’ prophecy. But seizing the throne does not make him satisfied. As the King of Scotland, he starts dominating his reign with evil deeds. The reason for this is his inner struggles of grief and fear about the murder he committed. In order to protect from any kind of suspicion and enmity, he becomes a tyrannical ruler. According to Shakespeare, Macbeth hardens his fear into anger and seeks solace in violence.

When Macbeth remembered of the prophecy of banquo, he was afraid that he would overtake him as a king. So to put things in place, he and Lady Macbeth starts planning more atrocious acts for killing Banquo and his son, Fleance. One thing leads to another and finally both of them propel into bloodshed acts against Banquo. However, Fleance escapes from it. Meanwhile, Macbeth reaches for the witches and asks about his death. The witches describe that he is incapable of killed by any man born of women and until the Birnam Woods moves to Dunsinane Castle. After hearing the prophecy Macbeth feels secure because of the two impossibilities.

Since the witches warned him of the nobleman, Macduff, he plans to seize his castle and kills his wife and children. Infuriated by the acts, Macduff joins hand with Duncan’s son, Prince Malcolm rides to Scotland with the army of England. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth gets mad and kills herself out of guilt and remorse.  Filled with despair, he manages to face the army, guaranteed by his invincibility.

The English army uses boughs cut from Birnam Wood and advances to Dunsinane. It seems like the Birnam Woods moving towards his castle, fulfilling half the prophecy. In the battle, he is killed by Macduff, mentioning that he was not born of woman but untimely ripped from a womb, which fulfills the entire prophesy. Malcolm crowns as the king of Scotland.

Analysis :

Shakespeare portrays the character of Macbeth as a man of dignity and intrepidity. However, he finally transforms into a man of ruthless character and vulnerability. The play shows how human greed and immorality can turn a reputed, loyal warrior into an atrocious ruler. On the other hand, Macbeth is struggling with the remorse of his committed evil deeds, but the Witches and Lady Macbeth boost his ego and manhood, making him inhumane. Ultimately, his fear and guilt paves way for his end.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 14/12/2016

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