Macbeth Study Guide

Macbeth Study Guide

Original title:
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Published July 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1623)
ISBN 0743477103 (ISBN13: 9780743477109)

Yet another Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “Macbeth” is one of the most famous works of the writer. It is easy to understand and is also one of the shortest books he has written, also known to be one with the most bloody events put into it. Its complexity lies in the emotional tensions that hold the reader tight until the very end of the story.

The play is a tragedy written during the reigns of James I, but based on the Scottish king Macbeth. Today the name of Macbeth is most often associated with the thirst for power and willingness to go as far as it takes.

The plot begins when one day two fine generals living in the Kingdom of Scotland, Macbeth and Banquo, who have just defended their land from the invasion of the foreign army, encounter a group of witches. In the midst of thunder and lighting, the witches leave them with the prophecy that Macbeth is soon to become the king, while Banquo’s future generations will inherit the throne.

Confused at the beginning, soon after Macbeth gives in to his ambitions. Fueled by the confidence of the prophecy and encouragement of his wife, the protagonist murders the King of Scotland. The flagitious and cool-hearted Lady Macbeth, one of the most evil figures of Shakespeare’s works, plans the murder to the very detail and facilitates many of the following ones.

Obsessed with the second part of the prophecy, Macbeth goes to great length to kill Banquo and all his heirs. Then the situation gets out of control. The king is followed by the ghosts, Lady Macbeth is walking at night being paranoid, the country falls into the bloodbath. The emotional intensity is on its peak.

Despite the speculations over the real authorship of all Shakespeare works, one can’t deny their brilliance. The language, the sense, the heroes, the background against which the events are taking place – this piece of art is a must read for anyone!

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