In the play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, what kind of person is Macbeth and could he become the king if he hadn't killed anyone?Basically what is the plot of the story? I haven't read the book...

In the play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, what kind of person is Macbeth and could he become the king if he hadn't killed anyone?

Basically what is the plot of the story? I haven't read the book yet...

Asked on by trice267

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

kc4u's profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Shakespeare's play Macbeth tells the story of a great soldier, one of the two generals of King Duncan of Scotland, the other being Banquo. Macbeth, alongwith Banquo, fights Duncan's enemies--the rebel Macdonwald & the invading King of Norway--to earn widespread admiration for his loyalty & heroism. Duncan declares that Macbeth be conferred the title of the Thane of Cawdor and the present Thane of Cawdor be given capital punishment for treachery. On their way back from the battle, Macbeth and Banquo see three Witches on the heath who hail Macbeth first as the Thane of Glamis(the position he holds), then as the Thane of Cawdor(already declared by Duncan), and finally as the future king of Scotland. The Witches also predict that Banquo's issues would be kings in future. Soon thereafter, Duncan's men come to inform Macbeth that the title of Cawdor has been conferred on him. Macbeth looks disturbed for he has already nurtured the ambition of kingship deep in his heart and the prophesies of the 'weird sisters' seem to have mirrored his 'vaulting ambition'.

Back at the royal palace, Macbeth and Banquo receive warm admiration from the king who now declares his elder son, Malcolm, to be the Prince of Cumberland, and thus the future king of Scotland. Since in the 11th century Scotland 'Elective Kingship' was feasible, Macbeth could have become the king, had Duncan not made the declaration in favour of Malcolm. Now the only option for Macbeth was to kill Duncan and usurp the throne. Duncan makes things easier by announcing his visit to Macbeth's castle on that very night.

Macbeth, however, dwindles between his ambition and his imaginative conscience, until Lady Macbeth goads him to the murder of Duncan with her iron resolve. Macbeth kills Duncan in his sleep as per the blue-print of his wife. Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbin, escape to save their lives from further criminal conspiracy. Macbeth dons the royal robe.

But a man with the hands of a master-killer and the imagination and scruples of a poet, Macbeth is haunted by insecurity, inferiority and fear. He moves from fear to fear, from one murder to another, to protect his unlawful kingship. He gets Banquo killed, though Banquo's son Fleance manages to escape, thus keeping the Witches' prophecy potentially alive. Banquo's ghost appears at Macbeth's coronation banquet to diclose the usurper-king's criminality. The fair & courageous thane of Fife, Macduff, who has always suspected Macbeth's bonafides, escapes to England to meet Malcolm and convince him to launch a military campaign for the ouster of the tyrant, Macbeth. Meanwhile, Macbeth's men eliminate Macduff's wife, sons & all other members of his family.

The play ends with the campaign led by Malcolm, Macduff and the English army. Macduff beheads Macbeth to rid Scotland of the tyrannical rule of the usurper-king. Malcolm is going to wear the crown. By then, Lady Macbeth, after having suffered from severe mental disorder,has chosen to end her pathetic life.

The character of Macbeth is thus a wonderfully complex study in ambition in continual conflict with conscience, a study in fear--fear of punishment, of justice, of inescapable damnation.

We’ve answered 318,968 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question