Macbeth

Shakespeare's play ‘Macbeth' was written in 1606. The play tells the story of a man, urged by his wife and told by prophecy, who deliberately kills the king in order to gain power.

The play starts with thunder and lightening. Three witches appear and talk about meeting after the battle which is a rebellion in Scotland. There is also mention of them meeting Macbeth ‘There to meet with Macbeth' (Line 8). This leaves you with the question is Macbeth anything to do with the supernatural? Witches are looked upon as being supernatural beings. As they all leave they set the theme of the play ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air.' (Lines 12 and 13).

Act I Scene 2 tells about a battle that is going on and how Macbeth fought well and killed a slave. ‘For brave Macbeth – well he deserved that name'. (Line 16). Macbeth is being looked upon as brave, a sort of hero. The enemies come back with reinforcements and try to fight again. This angers Macbeth so he fights back and defeats the Thane of Cawdor. He is then given the title Thane of Cawdor. ‘No more than Thane of Cawdor shall deceive, Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth'. (Lines 62 – 65). A Thane is a nobleman in Scotland and a sought-after title to obtain. Macbeth is looked at as someone to look up to, at this point in the play before we even meet him, he seems strong willed and loyal to his country.

Act I Scene 3 introduces Macbeth into the play. The witches meet as planned and Macbeth comes along. They sing a song to Macbeth and hail him Thane of Glamis, his current title and the Thane of Cawdor. At this point in time Macbeth doesn't know that he is about to receive Thane of Cawdor and the witches predict he will become king which is a total shock to him. ‘All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor, All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.' (Lines 46 – 48) Banquo is surprised that Macbeth isn't ecstatic with his prophecy but Macbeth wants to know more. This makes Macbeth seem an inquisitive character. They then meet Ross and Angus who tell Macbeth about how the king is going to honour him in person and how he is going to receive Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth starts to think that the prophecy might come true. Macbeth becomes scared as he considers killing the king to complete the prophecy. ‘My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical'. (Line 138). Macbeth who seemed loyal to his king to begin with now seems to be doubting his loyalty as he thinks of killing the king receive more power. He seems to be doubting himself and fighting in his own mind because he knows these thoughts are wrong.

Act I Scene 4 speaks about how people were sent to kill the Cawdor but he confessed and apologised for what he had done so he could be at peace with himself when he was killed. But Duncan makes an important comment saying he trusts the Cawdor because he is deceptive in the way he acted. Macbeth arrives the king thanks him for what he did, saying he could never repay him. This makes Macbeth sound even more of a hero but we now know some of the thoughts that are going through his mind about killing the king. Macbeth replies that he was just doing his duty. ‘The service and the loyalty I owe, In doing it, pays itself.' (Lines 21 – 22). The king says he is happy despite troubles and declares that his son Malcolm will be the next successor to the throne. ‘We will establish our estate upon, Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter, The Prince of Cumberland'. This creates a problem for Macbeth in getting to the throne. ‘The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step, On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, For in my way it lies.' (Lines 48 – 50). The king decides to visit Macbeth's castle, so Macbeth goes to tell his wife. He talks about how he is having dark thoughts about trying to become king.

Act I Scene 5 introduces Lady Macbeth to the play. She reads a letter sent by Macbeth, telling her of the witches prophecy. ‘Thane of Cawdor, By which title before these weird sisters saluted me and referred me to the coming on of time, with "Hail, king that shalt be".' (Lines 6 -9). Macbeth seems very much in love with Lady Macbeth as he tells her everything and calls her words such as ‘My dearest partner of greatness' (Lines 9 – 10). Lady Macbeth thinks that her husband is to nice to get the greatness he is promised so she decides to help him get the crown. ‘Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be, What thou art promised; yet do I fear thy nature, It is too gull o'th'milk of human kindness.' (Lines 13 – 15). A messenger tells her the king is coming and she decides that Duncan will be killed while staying there. She tries to get rid of all kind thoughts so that she can do the deed. ‘That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull, Of direct cruelty; make thick my blood.' (Lines 39 – 41). Lady Macbeth wants the prophecy to come true as she will be Queen. She wants to be able to commit the murder of the king without having a guilty conscience. She tells her husband to appear normal, even when he is planning to kill the king. ‘You're face, my thane, is as a book where men, May read strange matters.' (Line 60 – 61).

Act I Scene 6 Duncan arrives at the castle and talks about how pleasant the castle is. ‘This castle hath a pleasant seat.' (Line 1). Duncan greets Lady Macbeth, who returns the formality and assures her loyalty. ‘In every point twice done and then done double.' (Line 16). She leads them into the castle. ‘Still to return your own'. (Line 28.)

Act I Scene 7 Macbeth contemplates the crime and says he should do it soon if he is going to do it. ‘If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well, It could be done quickly.' (Lines 1 – 2). If this was all there was to murdering the king all he would have to worry about is afterlife but he is also judged on Earth, and murdering the king may lead to his own death. He is supposed to be loyal to king Duncan as a relative and a host. ‘He's here in double trust.' (Line 12). Duncan is a nice, great leader and who ever kills him will be damned, whilst everyone will be sad. There is nothing driving Macbeth on to kill the king except ambition, which is like a spur but also like a rider who jumps on a horse but falls off the other side. This makes Macbeth seem very ambitious. Duncan almost finishes his dinner and Macbeth considers as he doesn't want to kill someone who has done him so well. ‘We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honoured me of late.' (Lines 31 – 32). Lady Macbeth asks what happened to his hope of gaining power, she says she will not love him if he doesn't do this. ‘From this time, such I account thy love.' (Lines 38 – 39). Lady Macbeth is being manipulative as she wants to be queen. Macbeth doesn't want to commit murder but he loves his wife so much and longs for her approval. Lady Macbeth says if she had sworn to, she would kill a baby suckling at her breast. ‘I would, while it was still smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple away from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn, As you have done to this.' (Lines 56 – 59). She is being cunningly persuasive and Macbeth is slowly taking the bite. She starts to plan how they are going to commit the murder by getting the Kings servants drunk so it would look as though they had committed the evil dead. ‘Soundly invite his two chamberlains, Will I with wine and wassail to convince, That memory, the warder of the brain, Shall be a fume, and the receipt only a limbeck only.' (Lines 63 – 67). Macbeth agrees to do it but is still heavily feeling the guilt.

Act II Scene 1 opens with Banquo and Fleance wandering around the castle grounds whilst Banquo is worried about the dark thoughts going on in his head. ‘Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature, Gives way in response.'(Lines 8 – 9). They meet Macbeth who is also sleepless and Banquo is confused at this as Duncan went to bed happy after sending them all gifts. ‘He hath been in unusual pleasure, And sent forth great largess to your offices.' (Lines 14 – 15). Macbeth responds to this by saying he wasn't a good host as he was unprepared. ‘Being unprepared, Our will became the servant to defect, Which else should free have wrought.' (Lines 17 – 19). Banquo claims he cannot sleep as he dreamt of the witches and Macbeth says they should talk later. ‘I dreamed last night of the three weird sisters; To you they have shown some truth.'(Lines 20 – 21). Banquo wants to maintain his loyalty to the king. Macbeth dismisses his servant and imagines a dagger in front of him, but he isn't sure if it's real. He encourages it to do the deed and to show him how. ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:' (Lines 33 -34). Later that night Macbeth dreams of Hecate and the witches, whilst a wolf howls the time for murder and compares his sneaky approach to Tarquin. ‘Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design, Moves like a ghost.' (Lines 53 – 56). In horror, Macbeth decides to do the deed. ‘I go, and it is done.' (Line 63). This shows that Macbeth wants the title of king a lot and is determined to get it.

Act II Scene 2 Lady Macbeth gives the servants the alcohol and they all get extremely drunk. She says this gives her courage. ‘That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold'. (Lines 1 – 2). Macbeth prepares to kill the king as the servants are unconscious. When Macbeth appears, Lady Macbeth is afraid the servants have woken up and that the alcohol didn't work. ‘Alack, I am afraid they have awaked, And ‘tis not done; th'attempt and not the deed.' (Lines 9 – 10). Macbeth kills the king and Lady Macbeth claims that she would have killed the king if he hadn't looked like her father. ‘Had he not resembled, My father as he slept, I had done't.' (Lines 12 – 13). This makes Lady Macbeth sound all-talk-no-action as she is the one who vowed if Macbeth could not kill the king she would. She wants the title but isn't prepared to commit the crime to go with it. One servant awakes and says ‘Murder' but then he goes back to sleep after saying his prayers. ‘There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried, ‘Murder!', They did wake each other; I stood, and heard them, But they did say their prayers and addressed them, Again to sleep'. (Lines 24 – 28). ‘One cried ‘God bless us!' and ‘Amen' the other'. (Line 29). Macbeth is troubled because he could not say ‘Amen'. ‘List'ning their fear, I could not say ‘Amen', Stuck in my throat.' (Line 35 – 36). Macbeth is now feeling guilty and remorseful. He cannot even say Amen to a prayer to his religion. Lady Macbeth tells him not to think of such sickly things ‘These deeds must not be thought, After these ways; so, it will make us mad.' She also sends Macbeth to wash his hands whilst she puts the daggers back as Macbeth feels he cannot. ‘And wash this filthy witness from your hand… (Line 50) Why did you bring these daggers from the place?... (Line 51) I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on't again, I dare not. (Lines 55 – 56)… Give me the daggers. (Line 56).' Macbeth is now feeling the serious guilt of what he has just done and he cannot even go back to the scene of the murder as it distresses him to do so. Lady Macbeth tries to make Macbeth feel small by saying only children fear death and sleep. ‘The sleeping and the dead, Are but as pictures; ‘tis the eye of childhood'. (Lines 56 – 57). Lady Macbeth smears blood on the drunken servants to make them look guilty. Macbeth washes his hands but can still see blood on them. ‘Will all great Neptune's ocean wash the blood, Clean from my hand?' (Lines 63 - 64). Lady Macbeth feels slightly guilty for her beloved Macbeth having blood on his hands but she is glad that it isn't her.

Act II Scene 3 a porter hears knocking and says that a porter a porter in hell would have a busy job. He pretends to be the porter of hell and imagines the sort of people who would be sent to hell such as a farmer who didn't get the high prices he wanted, a traitor, and a tailor who tried to overprice his garments. ‘Faith, here's an English tailor, Come hither for stealing out of a French hose.' (Lines 10 - 12). Macduff and Lennox enter and they have a discussion about drinking, the porter tells how drink causes red noses, sleep and urine. ‘Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.' (Line 23). He says it also causes lechery, though it takes away the performance. ‘It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.' (Lines 24 -25). Macbeth greets Lenox and Macduff, then leads Macduff to the king. ‘The labour we delight in physics pain. This is the door.' (Line 42). Macbeth has lead Macduff to the king in a calm, steady manor as if it was any other day, but he knows of the king being murdered. Lennox comments on weird things happening during the night. ‘The night has been unruly'. (Line 46). Macduff returns, having discovered the murder. He is in hysterics, telling them of the awful crime and calling for an alarm. ‘Confusion now hath made his masterpiece: Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope, The Lord's anointed temple and stoke thence, The life o'th'building… (Lines 59 – 62) Ring the alarum bell! Murder and treason!' (Line 68). Lady Macbeth comes and asks what is going on, whilst Macduff tells Banquo about the tragedy when he enters. Macbeth re-enters commenting on how awful life is with the death of his king. ‘The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees, Is left with vault of brag of.' (Lines 88 – 89). Macbeth has to keep a steady Malcolm and Donalbain are then informed of what has happened. Lennox says it looked like the servants had done it. Macbeth says that in his fury, he killed the servants. ‘Th'expedition of my violent love, Outran the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan, His silver skin laced with his golden blood.' (Lines 103 – 105). Malcolm and Donalbain are afraid and agree to leave; Banquo says they should reassemble to investigate the matter. ‘Let's briefly put on manly readiness, And meet i'th'hall together.' (Lines 126 – 127). Malcolm, makes a comment relevant to the theme by saying it is easy to show a false sorrow. ‘What will you do? Let's not consort with them. To show an unfelt sorrow is an office, Which the false man does easy. I'll to England.' (Lines 128 – 130). Malcolm thinks that who ever killed the king is a false man. Macbeth is hearing all this being said but is secretly contented that he is going to get the crown. They both agree it is not safe there and depart.

Act II Scene 4 a random old man says this is the worst night he has ever seen. ‘Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night, Hath trifled former knowings.' (Lines 3 -4). ‘Even like the deed that's done.' (Line 11). Ross speaks metaphorically of the battle between light and dark while the old man compares it to an owl killing a great falcon. ‘That darkness does the face of earth entomb, When living light should kiss it?' (Lines 8 – 9). ‘A falcon tow'ring in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.' (Lines 12 – 13). Ross then talks about the mysterious event with the kings horses getting loose and eating each other. ‘And Duncan's horses, a thing most strange and certain, Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race… Make war with mankind.' (Lines 14 – 15, 18). Macduff says it is thought the servants did the murder and he thinks they were paid by Malcolm and Donalbain. ‘Malcolm and Donadbain, the king's two sons, Are stol'n away and fled, which puts upon them, Suspicion of the deed.' (Lines 25 – 27). It has also been said that Macbeth has gone to Scone to get the crown. ‘He is already named and gone to Scone, To be invested.' (Lines 31 – 32). The kings body is also said to be buried. ‘'Where is Duncan's body? Carried to Colmkill, The sacred storehouse of his predecessors, And guardian of their bones.' (Lines 33 – 34). Macbeth and Ross bid each other farewell, the old man bids them both farewell with a comment relevant to the theme. ‘God's benison go with you, and with those, That would make good of bad, and friends of foes.' (Lines 40 – 41).

Act III Scene 1 opens with Banquo commenting on how Macbeth is gaining everything he was promised, but he thinks Macbeth gained it through evil. ‘Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all… and I fear, Thou played'st most foully for't; (Lines 1 – 3). He now hopes that his prophecies will come true and his kids will become kings to. Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast, after he and Fleance come back from riding that afternoon. Macbeth also says that Malcolm and Donalbain, whom the guilt rests upon are in England and Ireland but don't to the crime. ‘We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed, In England and in Ireland, not confessing, Their cruel parricide.' (Lines 31 – 33). Macbeth leaves the men talking and tells the servant to fetch the murderers. ‘They are, my lord, without the palace gate. Bring them to me.' (Lines 48 – 49). Whilst this is going on, Macbeth thinks how to convince everyone how it is insufficient for him to be king unless he is secure. He fears Banquo, with his wisdom and temper. ‘And to that dauntless temper of his mind.' (Line 43). He is also worried about Banquo's prophecies coming true as his prophecy would be his children becoming king. ‘They hailed him father to a line of kings.' (Line 61). Macbeth fears he has given his soul and committed an evil act, just to put Banquo's descendants on the throne. ‘The gracious Duncan have I murdered… Only for them… To make them kings.' (Lines 67 – 71). Macbeth is now in so deep with killing the king that he doesn't want anything else getting in his way. He is now turning against one of his closest friends and having thoughts of him being almost two faced. Macbeth wants the crown a lot. Macbeth has been convincing the ‘murderers' that Banquo is a bad person. He tells them to kill Banquo and his son Fleance as well. He compares Macbeth is now being two-faced as he has just arranged the killing of a guy who used to be his closest friend. Macbeth is getting more and more ambitious as time goes by as he is now planning and killing anyone who comes close.

Act III Scene 2 Macbeth and Lady Macbeth meet and she reminds him of what he has done. She says it is no good to b insecure about what you have and if so it may as well be destroyed. She asks Macbeth why he is keeping himself to himself and acting worried when he cannot change what he has done. ‘How now, my lord, why do you keep alone, Of the sorriest fancies your companions making… What' done, is done.' (Lines 7 – 13). Lady Macbeth tells him to act happy and that they shouldn't kill Banquo and Fleance but Macbeth doesn't want to tell his wife of his plans so that she can be innocent. ‘Be bright and jovial.' (Line 28). Macbeth clearly loves his wife as he keeps the secret of Banquo's killing from her. If he doesn't tell his wife, she cannot try to stop him from ordering the killing of Banquo.

Act III Scene 3 involves the killing of Banquo and Fleance. The murderers kill Banquo but Fleance escapes. They killers claim to be sent by Macbeth and Fleance flees the scene.

Act III Scene 4 a banquet takes place, Lady Macbeth plays hostess while Macbeth meets with the murderers. He learns about the escape of Fleance and is now surrounded by fears instead of being calm and safe. ‘Bound in, To saucy doubts and fears.' (Lines 24 – 25). He tells the murderers they will meet again. Macbeth returns to the banquet and sees Banquo's ghost sitting in his chair, but Ross and Lennox tell him to sit since they don't see the ghost. ‘If I stand here, O saw him.' (Line 73). Lady Macbeth and Macbeth meet in a side room where Lady Macbeth says he is imagining from fear. He tells the ghost to go away whilst Lady Macbeth tells the lords to leave after Macbeth continues to act strangely. He wonders where Macduff is and decides he will go to see the witches again. ‘I will tomorrow – And betimes I will – to the weird sisters, More shall they speak.' (Lines 132 – 134). Macbeth is now starting to hallucinate about the people he has had killed. This shows that although Macbeth is gaining power, he also has a guilty conscience. He says he would go back and change things but he is in so far now that he going back would cause the same amount of problems as going forward. ‘I am in blood, Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er.' (Lines 136 – 138).

Act III Scene 5 Hecate is angry because the witches have been dealing with Macbeth without consulting her. She says he will be told his destiny at the cave the next. The spells she conducts will lure him into a false sense of security.

Act III Scene 6 Lennox thinks Macbeth has been acting suspicious and has noticed that two people have killed their fathers. Macduff is reported to be in the English court.

Act IV Scene 1 the witches meet and start conducting spells with weird ingredients. Macbeth approaches the witches to ask them a question, regardless of any havoc it may cause. Macbeth opts to hear it from the witches and is greeted by the 3 sisters that read his mind. .They give him images telling him to beware of Macbeth and the bloody child represents Macduff who we later find out was not born from a woman. Macbeth wonders why and if he should fear Macduff so much then he should kill him to be safe. The crowned child is Malcolm. Macbeth wonder why, then, he should fear Macduff but just to be safe he will kill him anyway. The crowned child is Malcolm.http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Macbeth/135504

Macbeth 7.1 of 10 on the basis of 1988 Review.