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Macbeth
(William Shakespeare)

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?Macbeth? by William Shakespeare is a tragedy play based upon true events in Scotland in the 13th Century. The central characters are Macbeth, a soldier and lord (Thane) who is loyal to King Duncan, a king who rules Scotland with a fair hand. Lady Macbeth is his ambitious wife, whom upon his return from battle schemes a plot to enhance their position, based upon a prophecy by three witches that Macbeth and his friend Banquo meet upon a wild heath. Macbeth tells his wife of the witch?s forecast that he will become king, then hosts a celebration at his castle which King Duncan attends. Lady Macbeth cannot wait for Macbeth to gain more power; she then pressures her husband into agreeing to kill Duncan that evening. Macbeth is uncertain but fails to resist the cruel ambitions of his wife. That evening he completes the murder using knives and blames the drunk servants of King Duncan. In the morning it is discovered and Duncan?s sons flee, one to England and one to Ireland for fear of their lives. They are suspected as being involved, and Macbeth becomes king. He is haunted by guilt for his actions, as is his wife who slowly goes insane, trying to wash imaginary blood off her hands. Part of the prophecy said that Macbeth would only lose his power when Burnham Wood moved upon his castle, so he believes this is impossible and he is safe. However, an English army advancing upon Scotland use the tree branches of the woods to hide how many soldiers they have. Macbeth is also told he cannot be killed by a man born naturally from a woman, yet when he comes into battle with an old enemy, he is killed as the man was born by being cut from his mothers? womb. Shakespeare?s play highlights the dangers of ambition, and lacking morality and integrity. He shows the fast decline of Macbeth and his wife, once loyal members of the royal party, who both lose everything that they have in their desperate attempts to greedily gain power and titles too quickly, without regard for others. A warning to all those who lead and rule over men.



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