Macbeth - Stuff that happens in the play

Stuff that happens in the play

  • Three “weïrd sisters” plan to meet with Macbeth
  • The King of Scotland (Duncan), and his sons (Malcolm and Donalbain) receive reports that Macbeth, who is the Thane (Lord) of Glamis, and Banquo have been victorious in battle against Norway and the Scottish rebels, including the Thane of Cawdor. Duncan orders the execution of Cawdor.
  • Macbeth and Banquo encounter the weïrd sisters, who predict that Macbeth will be pronounced Thane of Cawdor, then King; and that Banquo’s children will be kings.
  • Almost immediately, news arrives that King Duncan has named Macbeth the new Thane of Cawdor.
  • Duncan names his son Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland, declaring that Malcolm will succeed him on the throne. Duncan then invites himself to Macbeth’s castle, Inverness.
  • At Inverness, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth telling her about the weïrd sisters’ prophesies; when Macbeth arrives, she urges him to “catch the nearest way” to the throne by killing Duncan during his visit.
  • Macbeth agrees to the deed and, after changing his mind several times, kills the sleeping King on the night he arrives at Inverness. Lady Macbeth frames the King’s guards by putting the bloody daggers in their hands while they sleep.
  • Macduff discovers the murdered King in the morning, and Macbeth kills the guards out of “violent love” for the dead King.
  • The King’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, flee to England and to Ireland, respectively, fearing that they will be blamed for Duncan’s murder.
  • Macbeth becomes King and, in fear of the third prophesy (that Banquo’s sons will be kings), orders the murders of Banquo and his son, Fleance. Banquo is killed, but his son Fleance escapes.
  • The ghost of Banquo appears at a royal banquet, but only Macbeth can see him. After Lady Macbeth dismisses the guests, Macbeth resolves to revisit the weïrd sisters and he reveals that he foresees more violence to come.
  • The weïrd sisters use their magic to conjure apparitions who assure Macbeth that he cannot be defeated by anyone “of woman born” or vanquished until the Birnam Forest itself attacks him at his castle on Dunsinane hill (an unlikely occurence, in Macbeth’s mind).
  • Lennox reveals that Macduff has fled to England. In response to this perceived treason, Macbeth orders the death of Macduff’s family.
  • Macduff joins Malcolm’s army in England. After Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty to Macbeth, Ross reports the savage murder of Macduff’s family, and Macduff swears to kill Macbeth.
  • Violence and death ensue.

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