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The Tragedy of Macbeth. William Shakespeare. Shakespeare probably wrote Macbeth in part to flatter the new king, James the I of Scotland. He was crowned in 1603. Theatre Superstition.

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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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The tragedy of macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare probably wrote macbeth in part to flatter the new king james the i of scotland

Shakespeare probably wrote Macbeth in part to flatter the new king, James the I of Scotland.

He was crowned in 1603.

Theatre superstition

Theatre Superstition

  • Macbeth is often referred to as “the Scottish Play” because it’s believed to be bad luck to say the name Macbeth.

The weird sisters

The Weird Sisters

  • The witches who begin this play are known as The Weird Sisters.

The setting

The setting

  • While the witches in Act I, sc. I are on a heath, Act I, sc. Ii is on a battlefield. We learn that King Duncan has been battling Scottish traitors aided by Norway.



  • Macbeth is greeted by the witches with three prophecies:

  • All hail, Thane of Glamis

  • All hail, Thane of Cawdor

  • All hail, King hereafter

Banquo s prophecies

Banquo’s Prophecies

  • Lesser than Macbeth and greater

  • Not so happy, yet much happier

  • Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none

Prince of cumberland

Prince of Cumberland

  • Duncan names his son Malcolm the Price of Cumberland, meaning that Malcolm will succeed Duncan if/when Duncan dies. Macbeth is angry and says that “this is a step/On which I must fall down or else o’erleap.”

Lady macbeth

Lady Macbeth

  • Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband and is concerned that he is too “full of the milk o’ human kindness/To catch the nearest way” to become king. She laments the fact that she is not a man and therefore more ruthless.

Killing plans

Killing Plans

  • Lady Macbeth will get Duncan’s guards drunk.

  • Macbeth will use the guards’ daggers to kill Duncan

  • Macbeth will then smear the guards with Duncan’s blood to frame them for the murder



  • Macbeth forgets to frame the grooms by leaving the bloody daggers with them and not smearing them with blood

  • He refuses to go back to look upon his deed, so his wife must complete the job

  • Nothing in the plans suggested that Macbeth kill the guards, but he does this after the discovery of Duncan’s body in case they have seen Macbeth’s deeds

Comic relief

Comic Relief

  • The Porter is introduced after the murder of Duncan to give the audience a break from the tension.

The threat of banquo

The Threat of Banquo

  • Macbeth begins to sense that Banquo suspects him of foul play in order to get the throne

  • Macbeth is also jealous that he will not have children to inherit his throne

  • He hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, and they ride. He also gives the murderers personal reasons to hate Banquo.

The banquet scene

The Banquet Scene

  • Macbeth learns of the murder of Banquo and the fleeing of Fleance.

  • As he tries to sit, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo sitting in his seat.

  • Lady Macbeth explains that Macbeth’s strange behavior is something he has done since he

  • was a child



  • 1st – an armed head. “Beware Macduff”

  • 2nd – a bloody child. “None of woman born shall harm Macbeth.”

  • 3rd – a child crowned, with a tree in his hand. “Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnham Woods to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.”

4 th apparition

4th Apparition

  • A show of eight kings, Banquo the last, with a mirror in his hand.

  • Macbeth reacts violently to his apparition, since it appears that Banquo’s heirs will rule for infinity.

Macbeth s revenge

Macbeth’s Revenge

  • When Macbeth learns that Macduff has gone to England to join forces with Malcolm, Macbeth orders the slaughter of all of Macduff’s family

The end of lady macbeth

The End of Lady Macbeth

  • In her famous sleepwalking scene in Act V, sc. I, Lady Macbeth discloses the guilt she feels about her participation in the murder of Duncan and her knowledge of the other murders her husband has commanded.

  • She eventually dies by her own hand.

Macbeth s end

Macbeth’s End

  • Macbeth realizes that he will be defeated, but refuses to die a “Roman death” or to surrender.

  • He also reflects on his life and where he has arrived, briefly lamenting the fact that he does not have at the end of his life what others enjoy, such as friends and respect.

The end cont

The End, cont.

  • Macbeth is brought word that it appears Birnham Wood is moving toward Dunsinane.

  • When confronted by Macduff, Macbeth learns that Macduff was “from his mother’s womb/Untimely ripped.”

  • Macduff is victorious and returns with Macbeth’s head to be mounted on a spike.

  • Malcolm will become kings, and his loyal subjects will be made earls, the first in Scotland.

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