Macbeth Short Summary

What is a short summary of Macbeth?

When the play begins, Macbeth is a brave and loyal thane to King Duncan. However, after hearing a prophecy that he will become king himself, Macbeth is overcome by ambition and greed. Encouraged by the prophecy and his scheming wife, he kills King Duncan and seizes the throne. Afterwards, Macbeth’s guilt, fear, and paranoia lead him to commit even more murders to secure his power. His confidence in the prophecies eventually leads to his downfall, and he is overthrown and killed by those he has wronged.

Expert Answers

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Macbeth is a play of contradiction and ambition. Driven to becoming King, Macbeth will kill all and any that get in his way. He puts his faith in the words and prophesies of three witches, after their first one (that he will become Thane of Cawdor) comes through. Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth, is instrumental is Macbeth's ambition, egging him on when he fears he has gone to far, and scheming of greatness. See the link below for the enotes summary page.

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Well, in a nutshell, an honorable man falls from grace and is punished for it. 

Macbeth, recognized for his military skill and integrity, is given a prophecy by three witches.  They tell him that he will receive two titles other than the one he has--one of those is "King".  He does get the other title, and dreams of becoming King of Scotland.  He tells his wife, and everything else is history.  Together, the two plot to make the prophecy come true.  They kill King Duncan, frame his sons, and rise to the throne.  Macbeth also kills his best friend and attempts to kill his son, Fleance, as a result of the prophecy.  To ensure his throne, he has others murdered.  Lady Macbeth can't take it and kills herself.  Macbeth vows to fight the good fight until the end, and he is beheaded.  Duncan's son, Malcolm, comes to the throne and Scotland is again a peaceful realm.

There is much detail that I have left out of this extremely succinct rendition.  I suggest you fill in the blanks with the detailed analysis here at enotes.

Good Luck!

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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