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Macbeth Summary

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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Plot Details and Information about Macbeth

According to Macbeth summary, it is one of the greatest tragedies composed by William Shakespeare. There are several themes that are illustrated in the best way through this work of literature. Themes of ambition, fate, treachery, and deception are explored in Macbeth. This can easily be called one of the most explanatory works of Shakespeare. 

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Macbeth Summary

The following Macbeth summary PDF will provide a short and simple analysis of the story of Macbeth. Students can figure out the plot of the story with the help of this summary and it provides information regarding the character, the themes, and much more about the play. So, it is advised that students go through the whole summary in order to have an idea of the storyline. 

Macbeth Summary Essay 

The beginning of the play happens with people hearing about the rebellion led by the present Thane of Cawdor. During this time, Scottish general Macbeth and his companion Banquo were returning from two victories in rebellious battles against Ireland and Norway. The three witches have a confrontation with Macbeth and they prophesied about him being the king of Scotland one day. Upon his return, the Scottish King, Duncan decides to confer the title of Thane to Macbeth. However, Macbeth, over his greed decides to murder the king after receiving some encouragement from his wife Lady Macbeth, and plots to blame his guards for the murder of the king. This is the end of Act I. Students can learn a lot about greed and ambition from this.

Shakespeare Macbeth Summary

In the second act, Macbeth actually stabs King Duncan in his sleep and he is assisted by his wife for that. Lady Macbeth smears the blood of the king on the guards’ daggers and blames the murder on them. The guards are executed. King Duncan’s sons Donalbain and Malcolm decide to flee to England in fear of their own lives. Macbeth then takes the place of King of Scotland without any trouble. This is the end of the Macbeth summary act II. 

In the third act, Macbeth assumes the title of King. However, his greed leads him to murder Banquo, who was his close confidant in battles. Lady Macbeth decides to host a gathering from all the lords of Scotland. However, the bloodied ghost of Banquo soon appears and that leads to Macbeth acting hysterically. Lady Macbeth then orders the guests to leave and they do so but not without taking notice of Macbeth's behaviour. This is what students can learn from Macbeth summary act 3. 

A nobleman named Macduff soon learns of Macbeth's plot in the murder of King Duncan murder and he flees to England. After learning of that, Macbeth decides to execute the family of Macduff. This is what happens in Macbeth summary act 4. 

When the news reaches Macduff of his family’s execution, he plots an act of revenge. His revenge is supported by Malcolm who had managed to gather some forces in England. Together, they decide to march up to Macbeth. In the meantime, Lady Macbeth loses her sanity due to her guilt and commits suicide. Grief-stricken from his wife’s death, Macbeth retreats to his castle which is then soon overrun by Malcolm and Macduff. A furious battle ensues between Macbeth and Macduff which results in the former’s death. Malcolm assumes his role as King of Scotland and ensues peace in the Kingdom. 

Macbeth Summary Sparknotes Characters List

King Duncan: The king of Scotland. He is known to be kind and gentle. 

Malcolm: King Duncan’s son. He is the one crowned King of Scotland after Macbeth’s death. 

Macbeth: The protagonist of the play. He is one of King Duncan’s generals. He is responsible for the murder of King Duncan and becoming King after him. 

Lady Macbeth: Wife of General Macbeth. She has more ambition than Macbeth and has an equal role to play in planning for the murder of King Duncan. 

Banquo: The 2nd General of King Duncan. He is murdered by Macbeth. He has a son Fleance. 

Macduff: King Duncan’s 3rd general. He wasn’t born of a woman as he was ripped out of the womb of his mother, during the pre-natal stage. He kills Macbeth in a ferocious battle. 

Three Witches: They made a prophecy regarding Macbeth’s crowning as king and also his death. 

The Tragedy of Macbeth Summary Theme

A major theme in the Macbeth summary PDF is the destruction that is brought upon when ambition crosses the moral limits in a person. The two powerful characters in the play are examples of that. Macbeth is seemingly doubtful about murdering the king but naturally commits the crimes and other evil deeds. He desires power and that results in his death. However, Lady Macbeth is a more ambitious lady and pursues her husband with no moral sense on her side. This ultimately leads to her death as well.

The above-mentioned article provides a Macbeth summary essay for the students. They can use it to answer questions in the examination. 

FAQs on Macbeth Summary

1. Are the three witches real?

According to Macbeth summary, the characters of the Three Witches actually exist in the play and they are not a figment of imagination for the main character, Macbeth. These three witches confront the General after his victory against Norway. They make a prophecy about him being crowned as king which comes true when Macbeth murders the then King Duncan. The witches also make a prophecy about Macbeth’s death at the hands of Macduff. This prophecy also comes true when Macduff reveals that he was not born out of his mother’s womb and torn out of it during the pre-natal stage. This shows that the three witches are actually real. 

2. Did Macbeth want to be king from the beginning? 

Since the audience is introduced to Macbeth after his victory from Norway, they don’t have the chance to know much about Macbeth and his desires. However, from the play, it can be assumed that he did have a dream of getting power in his life. He did have a pretty strong reaction when he heard that he was destined to be king according to the prophecy of the three witches. This can suggest his desire must have been pretty strong. However, he didn’t originally plan on killing the king until his wife convinced him otherwise. It was her greed mixed with his ambition that led to the act of murder. 

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