StudyBoss » Macbeth » William Shakespeare’s Macbeth Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth Shakespeare

Background/Context: William Shakespeare was born April of 1564 in England. He was followed by 8 younger siblings. He is well know around the world for his tragedies. In early 1606 Shakespeare composed Macbeth which will become one of his best known plays. Shakespeare died in 1616 on April 23rd.

Macbeth is last and shortest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it was composed in 1606. Macbeth It is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s darkest works. It has a lot of fighting and bloodshed. This play was based on actual events and shows how lust for power can corrupt ones soul. SHakespeare’s main source for Macbeth was Holinshed’s Chronicles

Character Analysis: 1. Macbeth “I dare do all that may become a man, Who dares do more is none.” This quote shows what Macbeth thinks of himself, he thinks that he is brave. Also other people around him believe he is brave too. “For brave Macbeth — well he deserves that name — Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smoked with bloody execution,like valour’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave.” Macbeth is also very ambitious he works for what he wants and in ttis case it required killing people.”That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies.”

2. Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is also very ambitious, she knows her plan and exactly how to do it. “He that’s coming must be provided for: and you shall put this night’s great business into my dispatch.” She tells Macbeth that she will take care of things. MAcbeth shows that he knows lady Macbeth’s power and ambition with this quote “Bring forth men-children only, for thy undaunted mettle should compose nothing but males.”


ACT I Summary The three weird sisters meet Macbeth and say “ fair is foul and foul is Fair”. Duncan who is the king of Scotland heras about a war and Macbeth’s bravery and thereafter names him Cawdor. Macbeth and Banquo Meet with the three weird sisters and they say he will become Cawdor and then King. When Macbeth figures out he became Cawdor he believes the other part can come true. Macbeth sends a letter to lady Macbeth telling her about his encounter with the witches and she wants him to kill Duncan to ensure his place as king. They figure out Duncan will be coming to visit and lady MAcbeth says she will have everything ready fir the murder. Macbeth thinks long and hard if he should kill Duncan or not. He doesn’t want to kill his friend. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to drug Duncan’s Guards and Kill Duncan.


False face must hide what the false heart doth know

These lines are saying he knows what he did wrong but he has to pretend he doesn’t and not show that he knows what is going on. He knows he is guilty and is faking his innocence.

ACT II Summary Macbeth pretends to pay no mind to the witches prophecies when he is around Banquo but he knows he will kill Duncan that night. Macbeth follows through with the plan and Kills Duncan he is scarred from it and says he hears a voice saying he will never sleep again. Lady Macbeth tells him to wash his hands to forget what happened. Macduff goes to see the king and figures out that he is dead and tells the servants to ring the alarm. The guards are blamed for His death because they are framed by MAcbeth and Lady Macbeth then Macbeth goes to state that he killed the guards because he was so upset with Duncan’s death. Duncan’s children decide they should leave because they believe they are in danger.


Alack, I am afraid they have awakened, and ‘tis not done. Th’attempt and not the deed confounds us.

Lady Macbeth was scared that Macbeth didn’t follow through with his plan or got caught and now their plan is ruined and their lived will be over. She is scared somebody woke up and aught Macbeth in the middle of his plan.

Act III Summary Banquo is starting to believe Macbeth killed Duncan to go with the witches prophecies. Macbeth hires two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance so they will not become king like the prophecy says. He convinces the murderers that they don’t like Banquo just like him so they agree to kill him. Before hiring the murderers Macbeth inform banquo that he will be honored at Macbeth’s banquet. LAter on the murderers attack Banquo but Fleance escapes and the have to go tell Macbeth. At the banquet Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost and starts saying things that worry the guests Lady MAcbeth calms them by telling them he has done this since his youth. Mabeth almost gives them away so she asks the guests to leave. Macbeth confesses to Lady MAcbeth that he wants to see the witches again. Macduff and Malcolm pair together with siward to form an army against Macbeth.


Thou canst not say I did It, never shake Thy gory locks at me.

Macbeth is pretty much telling Banquo’s ghost not to point his finger at him. He is yelling at him saying you can not blame me for what happened. Macbeth doesn’t want everyone to know what he did.

Act IV Summary Macbeth Visits the witches and they give him three prophecies. Beware Macbeth, No child born of a women will harm Macbeth, and Macbeth will never vanquish until Great Birnam Wood comes against him. Macbeth then asks if Banquo’s children will ever rule Scotland and he figures out they will. With this new information he develops a plan to kill Macduff’s wife and children. His plan follows through and murderers kill everyone at Fife including Lady Macduff and her son. Malcolm urges Macduff to seek revenge on Macbeth.


A deed without a name

Macbeth asks the witches what is it they do and they reply with “ a deed without a name.” They are pretty much saying that the things they do are so wrong. What they are doing is not earthly, it is an evil beyond description.

Act V Summary By this point in the play Lady Macbeth can’t handle the guilt of everything she has done to make MAcbeth King. Nobody can help her, not even doctors. Most of the Scottish lords agree that they will fight with Malcolm and Macduff against Macbeth. Macbeth is not worried at all because he believes no No person born by a women can kill him. Little does Macbeth know, Macduff was “ripped” from his mother at birth so technically he was not born. So in the end Macduff kills Macbeth and Malcolm is named king of Scotland.


I will not be afraid of death and bane, Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.

This shows that Macbeth is not scared anymore, he used to be fragile and scared about things but now he is not. He thinks he can not be brought down, because he pretty much lives by the prophecies now. The witches said he will not be brought down till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane, and Macbeth believes you can never move a whole forest so this will not happen.

Themes Ghosts and Visions

Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee; I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. There are three distinct times that the theme Ghosts and Visions come into play in the play Macbeth. The first time being when Macbeth saw the bloody dagger, Macbeth was unsure about the dagger. He asks himself, Is this dagger real or just part of my imagination? Macbeth is imagining the tasks of killing Duncan and possibly even regretting the decision but he snaps back to reality and performs the task.

Guilt and Remorse

Out, damned spot! Out, I say. . . What, will these hands ne’er be clean?

Lady Macbeth knows what she has done, and she know she can never go back. She is has been sleepwalking and this is what she says. You can clearly tell she feels very guilty for what she has done and she will eventually take her own life for all the guilt. At first Lady Macbeth felt no Guilt for what she had done but over time it gets to her and she never gets over all the guilt and remorse.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.