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The Tragedy of Macbeth, played in five acts by William Shakespeare, portrays the rise and fall of a Scottish nobleman whose blind ambition leads him to commit several murders in order to become King. While Macbeth's monstrous acts evoke horror, his self-awareness, inner struggle, and haunting spirit elicit some sympathy. The play was written sometime in 1606-07 and first published in 1623, in the First Folio edition of Shakespeare plays. The character Macbeth was loosely based on the real Scottish King of that name, who ruled in the 11th century. Macbeth is the shortest of Shakespeare tragedies, without diversions or subplots. Near the start of the play, Macbeth and Banquo, who are generals serving Scottish King Duncan, meet three witches known as the Weird Sisters. Witches prophesy that Macbeth, who is thane of Glamis, will also become thane of Cawdor, then King, and that Banquo will beget king Soon thereafter, Macbeth discovers that he has indeed been made thane of Cawdor, which leads him to believe the rest of prophecy. Macbeth is undone by his inability to hold her own moral ground, his constant need to feel secure, and his overwhelming need to prove to his wife, Lady Macbeth, that he is not a coward. Spur by his wife, Macbeth kills King Duncan while he is guest at Macbeth castle, Dunsinane. The Duncan sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, flee the country, fearing for their own lives. A Nobleman named Macduff discovers murder. The speedy departure of Malcolm and Donalbain seems to implicate them in crime, however, and Macbeth becomes King. Meanwhile, Malcolm raises an army in England to fight Macbeth. Worry by witches ' prophecy that Banquo will beget kings, Macbeth hires killers to murder Banquo and his son, though son escapes. A Banquo ghost haunts Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth is driven to madness by her guilt. Learning that Macduff is joining the Malcolm army, Macbeth orders the slaughter of Macduffs wife and children. Lady Macbeth dies, and Macbeth is killed in battle by Macduff. Malcolm then becomes rightful King. The play themethe assassination of the Kingwas of particular interest to audiences of Shakespeare day. In November 1605, a group of Englishmen had tried to blow up the English Parliament and King James I and his family, in a conspiracy known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Act II starts with Banquo and his son Fleance walking in the courtyard in Macbeth's castle. They meet Macbeth, who lies to Banquo and says that he has not thought about witches' prophecy. When they leave, Macbeth sees hallucination of a knife. He knew it was not real, but before his sight it changed and became covered in blood. He leave to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth enters in Scene II. She has already made Duncan's guards drunk. Macbeth came in with her hands covered in blood, carrying knifes of guards. He is very troubled. Lady Macbeth comforted him and told him to wash his hands and cover guards with blood, so it looked like they do it. But Macbeth is afraid, so Lady Macbeth does it instead. In II. III, porter is very drunk. He pretended to be the porter of the gate of hell, and took a long time to open the gate for Macduff and Lennox. Macbeth greets them. Macduff says that he is there to wake the King, and Macbeth leads him to the King's room. Macduff is shocked to see the King murdered on his bed. He ran out shouting and wakes everybody up. Macbeth pretends he does not know about murder, as everyone comes to see what is happening. He admits that he killed the guards, and said that he did it because he was so angry that they killed Duncan. Lady Macbeth faints and they rush to help her. Malcolm and Donalbain think that somebody is lying. They know it is not safe for them to stay in Scotland, so they run away. Malcolm go to England, and Donalbain to Ireland. Scene Iv is a talk between Ross and an old man. They talk about how strange the night was. Nature seems to have turned into a mess now that Duncan is dead. Macduff came in and said that Macbeth was going to become King. He does not trust Macbeth, and is not going to coronation.
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