The Tragedy of Macbeth
William Shakespeare
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Macbeth (/məkˈbɛθ/; full title The Tragedy of Macbeth) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare; it is thought to have been first performed in 1606. It dramatizes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. Of all the plays that Shakespeare wrote during the reign of James I, who was patron of Shakespeare's acting company, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright's relationship with his sovereign. A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae

First Witch
Second Witch and Servant
Third Witch and Gentlewoman
Duncan, King of Scotland, Old Men and Lords

Malcolm, Son of Duncan, Sergeant,
Third Murderer and Soldiers
Lennox, Nobleman of Scotland
Ross, Nobleman of Scotland
Macbeth, General of the King's Army

Banquo, General of the King's Army,
and Siward, Earl of Northumberland, general of English forces
Angus, Nobleman of Scotland, and Second Murderer
Lady Macbeth
Messenger and Attendant

Fleance, a son to Banquo, and Young Siward, Siward's Son
Porter, Donalbain, Son of Duncan, and Cathness, Nobleman of Scotland
McDuff, Nobleman of Scotland
First Murderer

Lady McDuff
McDuff's Son
Menteth, Nobleman of Scotland,
and Seyton, Officer Attending on Macbeth

Act I

Scene 1.
A Desert Place

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch. When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch. When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch. That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch. Where the place?

Second Witch. Upon the heath.

Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth.

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