Macbeth, also called The Tragedy of Macbeth, is a play by William Shakespeare which he wrote in 1606. It is considered Shakespeare’s shortest work, but like all of the things he wrote, Macbeth is considered a tragedy with some dark comedy added to it. The Tragedy of Macbeth tells about the dangers of ambition and greed and the physical and mental ramifications that come with it.
Storyline of Macbeth
The story and theme of the Tragedy of Macbeth revolve around the Scottish general, Macbeth, who is plagued with dark political ambitions unchecked by any moral compass. It started when Macbeth and his friend, General Banquo, were each given a prophecy by the Three Witches. Macbeth was told about how he will become the new king of Scotland, while Banquo was told to be less successful than Macbeth, but will be happier. He was also told that though he will not be king, his line will be a line of kings.
Macbeth was skeptical about this but as soon as he told his wife, Lady Macbeth, she encouraged him to kill King Duncan, the King of Scotland. He then became the new king but is plagued by paranoia that others might take the throne away from him. So he committed more murders, including that of Banquo.
The story’s climax happened when Lady Macbeth killed herself, showing signs of extreme guilt and mental anguish, while Macduff and Prince Malcolm, the son of the murdered King Duncan, raised an army in England to attack Macbeth. And of course, Macbeth was killed and Malcolm succeeded him as the new King of Scotland.
Macbeth as a Hero
Though Macbeth is seen as the villain of the story, he was once a considered a hero before his downfall. He is considered as a great general of Scotland under King Duncan and has won several battles and wars. He is even called as “Noble Macbeth” by King Duncan.
Macbeth even showed great characteristics of a good man. When the Three Witches revealed the prophecy of how he will become king, he even rejected the idea first. Saying he is content of his current role and life. When his wife, Lady Macbeth, told him he should murder King Duncan and usurp the throne, he resisted at first, showing his loyalty to his king.
Of course, his flaws got the best of him. He was eventually overwhelmed by his inner desires and ambitions to be king. His pride also proved to be his undoing, because when Lady Macbeth challenged his manhood for not agreeing to murder King Duncan, he eventually gave in just to prove a point that he is a man. In the end, Macbeth is considered a tragic hero. A character with great heroic attributes and personality only to have fallen to darkness because he cannot overcome his own flaws.
The tragedy of Macbeth Characters
The characters in the Tragedy of Macbeth are full of their own tragedies. Macbeth, as mentioned above, was a tragic hero because for all the good in him, his demons still managed to get the best of him. Here are the other characters that are also surrounded by their own tragedies.
- Lady Macbeth – Macbeth’s wife. She is even more ambitious than Macbeth and is the reason Macbeth murdered King Duncan, to begin with. She has an unquenchable desire for power but was eventually consumed by her guilt that she took her own life.
- King Duncan – King of Scotland whom Macbeth murdered. He was written as a good and just king but was stabbed in his sleep by Macbeth all for Macbeth and his wife’s ambition.
- Banquo – another general of Scotland and Macbeth’s friend. Macbeth hired assassins to have him killed because Banquo started to get suspicious about Macbeth being the killer of King Duncan.
- Macduff – the Thane of Fife. The one who discovered the dead body of King Duncan. The Three Witches warned Macbeth of Macduff, so Macbeth ordered to murder Macduff, his family and all of the people in Macduff’s castle. Of course, Macduff was able to escape, but his wife and children were killed, so he vowed to kill Macbeth. He was given his wish when he was the one who killed Macbeth in the end.
Why Did Macbeth Killed Banquo?
As mentioned earlier, the Three Witches gave the prophecies to both Macbeth and Banquo together. When the witches said Macbeth will be king, while Banquo’s line will be future kings, it is when Macbeth became fearful. He thinks that Banquo or his kin will have him killed sooner or later, so that is why he ordered for Banquo and Banquo’s son, Fleance death.
Of course, Banquo was also already suspicious of Macbeth being the murderer of King Duncan, that is why he was planning to flee with Fleance. But Macbeth’s assassins got to Banquo first, but Fleance managed to escape.
So it was paranoia that made Macbeth killed Banquo. The paranoia of getting caught by his murder, and the fear of losing his throne to Banquo’s son as the prophecy foretold.
Writing Essay on Macbeth for College
Writing an essay on Macbeth for college can be quite easy if you know the story beforehand. Actually, this goes with most of Shakespeare’s plays. If you are not familiar, of course, you need to read the whole play and get familiar with the characters and their motives.
It can be tricky for some because of the old English used. So one may need to do a lot of translation, or due to the availability of everything online now, people can just read the story in normal English. It is, of course, better to read it in its original writing.
One has to understand as well that Shakespeare stories are almost all tragedies, full of betrayals, murder, and just an overall sadness. So one has to be ready for the type of mood when reading Shakespeare. Other than that, it is pretty straightforward writing required. If you can, hire a writing service like Rewarded Essays to guide you.