Short summary - Macbeth - William Shakespeare

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Macbeth
William Shakespeare

The scene is England and Scotland. Action time - XI century.

The tragedy begins with a conversation of three witches who discuss when they will meet again - they decide to get together "as soon as the battle ends with the victory of one side."

In a military camp near Forres, the Scottish king Duncan listens to good news from a bloodied sergeant: the king’s cousin, the brave Macbeth, defeated the troops of MacDonald and the Irish, and killed him in martial arts. Ross tells the king that immediately after the victory, the Scottish army was attacked again - the king of Norway (Svenon) and his ally, who had betrayed Duncan, the Kavdor tan , sent fresh forces against her. Once again, Macbeth defeats the enemies. The Norwegians are forced to pay a huge indemnity, and the traitor Duncan orders to execute the title of the Kavdor tan to transfer to Macbeth.

In the steppe under the thunderstorms, three witches boast of perfect abominations to each other. Heading for Forres Macbeth and Banco appear. The gizmos were waiting for them. They greet Macbeth three times - as the Gdamis tana (this is his hereditary title), then as the tana of Kavdor and, finally, as the future king. Banco is not afraid of sinister old women, he asks to predict the fate of him. Witches three times proclaim the praise of Banco - he is not a king, but the ancestor of kings - and disappear. Honest Banco is not at all embarrassed by the prediction, the witches, in his opinion, are just "bubbles of the earth." The royal envoys Ross and Angus appear, they rush the generals to appear before Duncan and congratulate Macbeth on the new title - Tan Kavdor. The predictions of witches begin to come true. Banco advises Macbeth not to attach importance to this: the spirits of evil lure people into their networks with a semblance of truth.

In Forres, Duncan greets his warlords with tears of joy. He bestows the title of Prince of Cumberland to his eldest son, Malcolm, and declares him his successor to the throne. The rest will also be showered with honors. To distinguish Macbeth especially, the king will stop for the night at his castle in Inverness. Macbeth is furious - between him and the throne, another step appeared - Malcolm. He is ready to commit a crime.

At Macbeth Castle, his wife reads a letter from her husband. She is delighted with the fate predicted to him. Yes, Macbeth is worthy of any honors and ambition, he just does not have enough willingness to commit a crime for the sake of power. But he does not fear the evil itself, but only the need to commit it with his own hand. Well, she is ready to instill in her husband a lack of determination! When Macbeth, who is ahead of the royal motorcade, appears in the castle, his wife immediately announces to him: Duncan should be killed on the only night he will be visiting. When the king appears in the castle, she already has a murder plan.

Macbeth is ashamed to kill the king who showered him with favors under his shelter and is afraid of retribution for such an unprecedented crime, but the thirst for power does not leave him. His wife reproaches him for cowardice. There can be no failure: the king is tired, he will quickly fall asleep, and she will drink his servants with wine and potion. Duncan should be stabbed with daggers, this will divert suspicion from the true culprits.

The feast is over. Duncan, showering home Macbeth with presents, retires to the bedroom. Macbeth gets there after him and commits a murder, but Lady Macbeth has to cover his tracks. The tan itself is too shocked. A ruthless woman laughs at her husband’s inappropriate sensitivity. They knock at the castle gates. This is McDouf, one of the most notable nobles of Scotland. The king ordered him to appear a little light. Macbeth has already managed to change into a night gown and, with the appearance of a gracious host, sees Macduff off to the royal chambers. The picture that he, having entered, sees is terrible - Duncan is stabbed to death, and the drunken servants are smeared with the blood of the master. Allegedly in a fit of righteous anger, Macbeth kills the prisoners who did not have time to recover. No one doubts their fault, except for the sons of the murdered, Malcolm and Donalbein. The young men decide to escape from Macbeth Castle to England and to the Irish, respectively. But the escape makes even the noble Macduff suspect them of involvement in the death of his father. Macbeth is elected as the new king, who left for Skon to take the crown there.

At the Forres royal palace, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (both wearing royal clothes) scatter in courtesies in front of Banco. Tonight they give dinner, and the main guest on it is Banco. It is a pity that he must leave on a hasty business, and God forbid, if he has time to return to the feast. As if by chance, Macbeth finds out that the son of Banco Fleens will accompany his father on a trip. Banco leaves. Macbeth realizes that the bold and at the same time judicious Banco is the most dangerous person for him. But the worse is that, if you believe the witches (and yet their predictions have come true!), The childless Macbeth has stained himself as a heinous crime, because of which he is now self-hatred, so that Banco’s grandchildren reign after him! No, he will fight fate! Macbeth has already sent for the killers. These are two desperate losers. The king explains to them that Banco is the culprit of all their misfortunes, and simpletons are ready to take revenge, even if they have to die. Macbeth demands that they kill Flins, the son of Banco. "He who began evil, he will wallow in him."

In the park of the palace, the killers were in wait for Banco and Flyns, who were heading for dinner to Macbeth. Having attacked at the same time, they defeat the commander, but Banco manages to warn his son. The boy escapes to avenge his father.

Macbeth cordially sits at the table of his associates, a circular bowl has already been poured. Suddenly one of the murderers appears, but his news is not too pleasing to the king. «The snake is killed, but the snake is alive,» Macbeth says and turns back to the guests. But what is it? The royal place at the table is occupied, on it sits a bloodied Banco! The ghost is visible only to Macbeth, and the guests do not understand to whom their lord addresses with angry speeches. Lady Macbeth hurries to explain her husband’s oddities to the disease. Everyone disagrees, and the calmed-down Macbeth tells his wife that he suspects Macduff of treason: he did not appear at the royal feast, besides the scammers (and their king keeps in the form of servants in all the houses) report about his "cold feelings." The next morning, Macbeth is going to the three witches to look deeper into the future, but no matter what they predicted, he will not back down,

Hecate is a gloomy deity talking with witches and is going to kill him.

Forres. Palace. Lenox talks to another lord about the death of Duncan, Banco, their children, Macduff, who, like Malcolm, fled to England. Macbeth is called a tyrant.

Macbeth in the witch's cave. He demands an answer from higher spirits, which disgusting old women can cause for him. And now the spirits are. The first warns: "Beware of Macduf." The second ghost promises Macbeth that none of those born of a woman will defeat him in battle. The third says that Macbeth will not be defeated until the Birnam Forest reaches the Dunsin Castle. Macbeth is delighted with the predictions - he has no one and nothing to fear. But he wants to know if the Banco clan will reign. Sounds music. Eight kings pass in front of Macbeth, the eighth holds a mirror in his hand, which reflects an endless series of crown-bearers in a double crown and with a triple scepter (this is a hint at the king of England, Scotland and Ireland - James I Stuart, whose ancestor was the semi-legendary Banco) . Banco himself comes last and triumphantly shows Macbeth a finger at his great-grandchildren. Suddenly, all - ghosts, witches - disappear. Lenox enters the cave and reports that Macduff fled to England, where Duncan's eldest son had already taken refuge. Macbeth decided to kill Macduff and his family. In his castle, Lady MacDuff learns about her husband’s flight. She is perplexed, Ross explains to her that "Prudence is not fear." She is trying to joke with her son. The boy is smart beyond his years, however jokes turn out gloomy. Suddenly a messenger appeared warning Lady Macduff: she should run away with the children as soon as possible. The poor woman does not have time to take the advice - the killers are already at the door. The kid is trying to intercede for the honor of his father and the life of his mother, but the villains stab him and rush for Lady McDuff, who is trying to escape. Lenox enters the cave and reports that Macduff fled to England, where Duncan's eldest son had already taken refuge. Macbeth decided to kill Macduff and his family. In his castle, Lady MacDuff learns about her husband’s flight. She is perplexed, Ross explains to her that "Prudence is not fear." She is trying to joke with her son. The boy is smart beyond his years, however jokes turn out gloomy. Suddenly a messenger appeared warning Lady Macduff: she should run away with the children as soon as possible. The poor woman does not have time to take the advice - the killers are already at the door. The kid is trying to intercede for the honor of his father and the life of his mother, but the villains stab him and rush for Lady McDuff, who is trying to escape. Lenox enters the cave and reports that Macduff fled to England, where Duncan's eldest son had already taken refuge. Macbeth decided to kill Macduff and his family. In his castle, Lady MacDuff learns about her husband’s flight. She is perplexed, Ross explains to her that "Prudence is not fear." She is trying to joke with her son. The boy is smart beyond his years, however jokes turn out gloomy. Suddenly a messenger appeared warning Lady Macduff: she should run away with the children as soon as possible. The poor woman does not have time to take the advice - the killers are already at the door. The kid is trying to intercede for the honor of his father and the life of his mother, but the villains stab him and rush for Lady McDuff, who is trying to escape. that "Prudence is not fear." She is trying to joke with her son. The boy is smart beyond his years, however jokes turn out gloomy. Suddenly a messenger appeared warning Lady Macduff: she should run away with the children as soon as possible. The poor woman does not have time to take the advice - the killers are already at the door. The kid is trying to intercede for the honor of his father and the life of his mother, but the villains stab him and rush for Lady McDuff, who is trying to escape. that "Prudence is not fear." She is trying to joke with her son. The boy is smart beyond his years, however jokes turn out gloomy. Suddenly a messenger appeared warning Lady Macduff: she should run away with the children as soon as possible. The poor woman does not have time to take the advice - the killers are already at the door. The kid is trying to intercede for the honor of his father and the life of his mother, but the villains stab him and rush for Lady McDuff, who is trying to escape.

Meanwhile, in England, Macduff is trying to persuade Malcolm to oppose the tyrant Macbeth and save suffering Scotland. But the prince does not agree, because Macbeth’s dominion will seem like a paradise compared to his reign, because he is naturally vicious - voluptuous, greedy, cruel. MacDouf in despair - now nothing will save the unfortunate homeland. Malcolm hurries to comfort him - suspecting a trap, he tested Macduff. In fact, his qualities are not at all like that, he is ready to oppose the usurper, and the king of England gives him a large army, which will be led by the English commander Siward, uncle of the prince. Lord Ross enters, Lady MacDuff's brother. It brings terrible news: people in Scotland have taken up arms, tyranny is intolerable. The Scots are ready to rebel. Macduff learns about the death of his entire family. Even his servants were carved by Macbeth's minions.

Late at night in Dongsinan, a court lady is talking to a doctor. She is worried about the queen's strange illness, something like sleepwalking. But then Lady Macbeth herself appears with a candle in her hand. She rubs her hands, as if wanting to wash blood from them, which does not wash in any way. The meaning of her speeches is dark and frightening. The doctor admits the impotence of his science - the queen needs a confessor.

English troops are already under Dunsinan, Malcolm, Macduff and uncle Prince Sivard. Scottish Lords who have risen up against Macbeth join them. Mentis, Katnes, Angus, Ross, Lenox. At Dunsinan, Macbeth hears the news of the approach of the enemy, but why should he be afraid? Aren't his enemies born of women? Or did the Birnam Forest hike? And in the Birnam Forest, Prince Malcolm gives his soldiers an order: let everyone cut down a branch and carry it in front of him. This will hide from the scouts the number of attackers. The castle is Macbeth’s last stronghold; the country will no longer recognize the tyrant.


Macbeth has already become so hardened with his soul that the unexpected news of his wife’s death causes him only annoyance - not at the right time! But here is a messenger with strange and terrible news - the Birnam Forest moved to the castle. Macbeth is furious - he believed in ambiguous predictions! But if he is destined to die, he will die like a warrior in battle. Macbeth orders trumpet collection troops. In the thick of the battle, Macbeth meets young Siward, but he is not afraid of his formidable opponent, boldly enters into a duel with him and dies. Macduff has not yet drawn his sword, he is not going to "cut down the hired peasants," his enemy is only Macbeth himself. And here they are. Macbeth wants to avoid a fight with Macduff, however, he is not afraid of him, like any woman born. And then Macbeth learns that Macduf was not born. He was excised from the mother’s womb before the term. Macbeth's fury and despair are endless. But he is not going to give up. Enemies fight to the death.

The troops of the rightful heir to Malcolm prevailed. Under unfurled banners he listens to the reports of his associates. Siward-father finds out about the death of his son, but when he is told that the young man died from a wound in the front - in the forehead, he is comforted. You cannot wish for a better death. MacDuff enters, carrying Macbeth's head. Everyone after him greets Malcolm with shouts: «Long live the Scottish king!» Trumpets play. The new overlord announces that he is specifically introducing the title of count for the first time in Scotland to reward his supporters. Now we need to deal with urgent matters: return Macbeth who fled from the tyranny to their homeland and punish his libels about. But the first thing you should go to Skon Castle is to be crowned in it according to the old tradition.