Book Summary of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Macbeth: Scottish general
Lady Macbeth: Macbeth’s wife
Three Witches: Prophets who speak to Macbeth on multiple occasion
Banquo: Friend of Macbeth, then enemy of Macbeth.
King Duncan: King of Scotland
Malcolm: Duncan’s son
Macduff: Enemy of Macbeth
Scotland is at war in the opening scene, and two of Scotland’s generals, Macbeth and Banquo, are returning from a successful battle. They are intercepted by three hags who tell the generals about a prophesy. The witches claim that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. They also claim that though Banquo will never become a king himself, he will father a long line of kings. Both generals are initially skeptical of these claims, until a few moments later when Macbeth is appointed Thane of Cawdor after the current Thane betrayed Scotland.
Macbeth begins to believe in the predictions made by the three witches, and he writes to his wife, Lady Macbeth. Upon Macbeth’s return, his wife is waiting to greet her husband and discuss their possible fate. Together they decide that the one sure way to attain kingship is to kill Duncan, the current King of Scotland. At first Macbeth is unsure about the plan, but Lady Macbeth manages to convince him otherwise. One night, Macbeth stabs Duncan in his sleep and blames the guards outside his chambers. Macduff, a nobleman, discovers the body.
Immediately, the effects of the murder begin to bother both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth sees ghostly images, and Lady Macbeth has sleepless nights filled with night terrors. Macbeth is named king after Duncan’s death, and he and Lady Macbeth continue to plot. Remembering the rest of the prophecy, Macbeth plans to murder Banquo and his son to ensure that Banquo’s line of kings never exists. Ultimately, Banquo is killed, but Banquo’s son escapes.
After Banquo’s murder, the toll of their actions sink in...