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ENGLISH
Asked by Leah

Can someone simply explain the plot of Macbeth to me? I Cannot grasp it despite all I’ve tired; reading about it and asking numerous teachers. They just think I don’t pay attention in lesson? It just doesn’t stick?

Macbeth, a Thane (like a Lord) murders King Duncan following a prophecy from 3 witches. Macbeth becomes King, bit a cruel and vicious one that becomes consumed by paranoia and violence. After a time, the other Thanes turn on Macbeth, and rally behind Duncan's son, the true heir. Duncan's son fights Macbeth and is ultimately victorious. This is a super simplified version of the play, but I think it should help you get the gist of it.

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David Jablonka
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19.2k students helped

Macbeth is a brave Thane (Duke in England) in Scotland. At the end of a battle where his side win the war, he is given a new title. With his best friend, Banquo, he sees three witches who he doesn’t know who tell him he is Thane of Glamis, which he is; Thane of Cawdor, which he is but then they call him King - which he isn’t and cannot be as he isn’t an heir to the throne at all. However, he writes and tells his wife, Lady Macbeth of the prophecy and she begins to plot how it could come true. Luckily the King, Duncan, is coming to stay at the Macbeths castle and she tells Macbeth that they will kill the King, blame it on his guards and take the throne. So they do. Macbeth’s power comes at a price - he distrusts all those around him especially Banquo who was there when the witches made the prophecy. He has Banquo murdered to keep the truth from getting out and tries to kill Banquo’s son, Fleance. Fleance escapes. His conscience gets the better of him and he sees Banquo at a dinner in his own honour. He becomes a tyrant, murdering those who stand in his way. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth is tortured by what she has done and cannot sleep, spending her nights sleepwalking until eventually she commits suicide. Macbeth decides to consult the witches again they tell him that he will be king until Birnam Wood moves and he won’t be killed by a man of woman born - meaning a forest has to move and the man who kills him won’t have be born from a woman. Sounds strange? Well Macbeth thinks so and decides to ignore these prophecies and the end of his reign begins. First a soldier reports the wood is indeed moving - those intent on getting rid of Macbeth, have camouflaged themselves with huge branches and are closing in on Macbeth’s castle to attack. They attack and Macduff, seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and son by Macbeth’s soldiers, finds Macbeth. Macbeth still doesn’t believe he will be killed and shares the witches’ final prophecy. To which Macduff tells him ‘ I wasn’t of woman born’ - Macduff was born by Caesarean section - cut from his mother at birth so wasn’t of ‘woman born’. Macbeth realises his end is here and Macduff kills him. The end. Hope this helps 😊

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Jaimee Beevers
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