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Macbeth By Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare written in the early 1600s, this Scottish play follows the tragic downfall of the ambitious General Macbeth after he is convinced by three witches that he will become king.

Driven by prophecy and spurred on by his cunning wife, Macbeth’s bloody rise to the throne leads him down a dark path of madness and carnage.

Summary of Macbeth

The play opens in Scotland in the early 1000s. Three witches tell this guy Macbeth that he’s gonna become king someday. He tells his buddy Banquo and they meet the current King Duncan. Duncan is actually really impressed by Macbeth and makes him the Thane of Cawdor, which was one of the witch’s predictions!

Anyway, Macbeth and his power-hungry wife Lady Macbeth hatch a plan to kill Duncan and take the throne. Lots of murder ensues as the two schemes to cling to their ill-gotten crown. But their guilt sends Macbeth down a spiral of insanity and tyranny. It’s a gripping tragedy about ambition, guilt and how far some will go for greatness.

Themes in Macbeth

Here are some major themes in Macbeth


Macbeth’s ambition, spurred on by the prophecy and his wife, causes him to betray his friend Duncan and murder to fulfil his quest for power. It highlights how far some will go to realise their ambition.

Guilt and Moral Corruption

Macbeth’s guilt over his deeds drives him to further violence as he loses his moral compass. His corruption spreads to affect Scotland, demonstrating how one bad choice begets another.

Appearance vs Reality

Characters disguise their wicked intentions behind a mask of normality. Macbeth By Shakespeare Scotland may look secure but inside it decays due to the crimes and paranoia of its rulers.

Destiny vs. Free Will

The witches’ prophecy makes Macbeth question if he is destined to be king or if he has a choice. His increasing tyranny shows one cannot escape responsibility for their choices.

Power and Leadership

When leaders gain power through criminal acts rather than legitimate succession, it undermines the natural order and breeds disorder, as seen by Macbeth’s reign.


Macbeth struggles to fit the expectations of a male ruler, resorting to violence to prove himself where wisdom and justice hold greater value.

Supernatural Folklore

The ominous witches’ prophecies hover over the play, reflecting how such superstitions both shape destiny and historical events through believers’ actions.


Defines what makes a rightful leader – inheritance, temperance, justice – opposite to Macbeth’s illegitimate violent rise and tyrannous rule due to vaulting ambition.


Guilt slowly pulls Macbeth into a world of delusion and insanity as retribution for his immoral acts and a warning about the drunkenness of power.

Major characters in Macbeth

Here are some of the major characters in Macbeth:


The ambitious Scottish general is driven to commit regicide by the witches’ prophecy and his wife’s persuasion, but it unlocks a tyrant consumed by guilt and paranoia.

Lady Macbeth

His power-hungry wife is the driving force behind Duncan’s murder, but her strong mind cannot withstand the strain of her guilty conscious.


Macbeth’s friend, also prophesied to father future kings, making him a threat eliminated by Macbeth which furthers his corruption.


The good King of Scotland whose murder kicks off the tragic plot and disrupts the natural order of succession and trust among countrymen.


A thane opposed to Macbeth who comes to symbolize patriotism and justice in seeking to avenge his family and restore rightful Scottish rule.


Duncan’s son flees into exile but returns determined to reclaim his throne from the bloody tyrant Macbeth with English support.

The Witches

Their cryptic prophecies sow the seeds of ambition and fatefulness that drag down Macbeth and Scotland with him into a morbid realm.


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