Shakespeare's dark portrait of ambition begins when three prophesying witches conspire to meet with Macbeth. Obliging his fate, he indeed encounters these "Weird Sisters," who mysteriously refer to him by the title Thane of Cawdor, and moreover, as the future king. Macbeth's companion Banquo is told that his descendants will inherit the throne. ...Read MoreShakespeare's dark portrait of ambition begins when three prophesying witches conspire to meet with Macbeth. Obliging his fate, he indeed encounters these "Weird Sisters," who mysteriously refer to him by the title Thane of Cawdor, and moreover, as the future king. Macbeth's companion Banquo is told that his descendants will inherit the throne. Macbeth and Banquo are dumbstruck when two noblemen of Scotland arrive announcing Macbeth's new title; with confirmation of the prophesy, the seeds of ambition are planted. When Lady Macbeth learns about the prophesy of her husband's rule in a letter from him, she begins plotting the murder of Duncan, King of Scotland. The murder of the King sets in motion a series of dark deeds that torment Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with guilt, especially when the ghost of Banquo, who is among the couple's slain, appears at a banquet. The guilt manifests pointedly when Lady Macbeth, in a somnolent state, attempts to wash the blood from her hands, famously uttering "Out, damn'd spot! out I say!" MACBETH was Probably written between 1603 and 1606, the last of his major tragedies. A concise drama, MACBETH may be brief as the result of Shakespeare's having learned of King James's penchant for shorter works. The plot was inspired by the Chronicles of Holinshed's narrative of the reigns of Duncan and Macbeth. Richard Burbage, one of the most prominent actors of the Elizabethan stage, is said to have originated the title role. The earliest extant evidence of performance refers to a staging in 1611, but indirect evidence, such as the work's influence on other plays of the period, suggests an earlier debut.Read Less
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