Macbeth Notes & Analysis
The free Macbeth notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 33 pages (9,772 words) and contain the following sections:
Macbeth Plot Summary
Macbeth is a Scottish general who is loyal to Duncan, the Scottish king. But after Macbeth meets three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will be king, the general is no longer satisfied to remain loyal to his king.
Macbeth and his wife hatch a plot to kill the king under their own roof and frame the guards outside the king's bedroom for the murder. Although Macbeth has misgivings about killing the king, his wife convinces him that it is the thing to do. Macbeth kills Duncan with his wife's help, but he is plagued with guilt for the crime.
When Duncan's murdered body is discovered, Macbeth immediately kills the accused guards so that he can cover his tracks. Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, flee Macbeth's castle in fear for their lives, and they are suspected of bribing the guards to kill their father.
Macbeth assumes the Scottish throne. In order to secure the throne for his descendants, he must kill Banquo, the other army general, and Banquo's son because the witches' told Macbeth that Banquo's descendants would have the throne after Macbeth. So Macbeth sets a trap and hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son, but Banquo's son escapes. Shortly after Banquo is killed on his way to a banquet at Macbeth's palace, Macbeth is haunted by Banquo's ghost. In the middle of the banquet he sees the ghost of the murdered man there and he makes a scene in front of the Scottish lords who are at the banquet. This outburst makes the lords suspicious although Lady Macbeth tries to play it off as just an illness that Macbeth has.
Meanwhile, Macduff, a Scottish noble who suspects that Macbeth murdered Duncan, goes to England to get help to reclaim the throne.
Macbeth goes to see the witches again to learn his fate. They tell him to beware Macduff; that he will not be defeated until Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane; and that Macbeth will not be killed by someone born of a woman. Macbeth takes all of these signs to mean that he is invincible.
In England Macduff and Malcolm, the rightful heir, ban together to fight Macbeth. When Macbeth learns of Macduff's treachery, he sends murderers to Macduff's home to kill his wife and children. When Macduff hears of this, his resolve to kill Macbeth grows even stronger.
With ten thousand English troops they go to fight Macbeth. Macbeth is unafraid until he learns that the troops have camouflaged themselves with wood from the Birnam forest and are moving toward Dunsinane. When Macbeth comes face to face with Macduff he learns that Macduff was removed from his mother's womb, and was, thus, never born. Macduff kills Macbeth and Malcolm is returned to the throne.