Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Macbeth book cover
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What is Macbeth about, in simple terms?

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Macbeth is the story of an ambitious man who takes some bad advice.  At the beginning of the play we meet three witches who will become important in the story because they provide prophecies that Macbeth takes to heart.  Macbeth is a noble (a thane), but he is not particularly important.  He is just an ordinary soldier and by all accounts brave and honorable.  The witches tell him that he will be Thane of Cawdor (a higher title than he has), and that he will be kind.  They also make another interesting prophecy about his friend and ally Banquo, that his sons will be king.

Macbeth is interested in these prophecies, but Banquo is suspicious.  When Banquo and Macbeth meet with the king, King Duncan names his son Malcolm heir to the throne instead.  This upsets Macbeth, even though there is no reason for him to be named king.  He makes a startling proclamation, in an aside, which basically means he is talking to the audience (or himself).

The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step

On which I must...

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tiger1922 | Student

Thank you for your answer, this helped alot. I can start studying this now! Once again - Thanks