The Theme of Macbeth

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The play Macbeth written by William Shakespeare in the beginning of the 17th century, deals with a man’s turn from the king’s most glorious, brave and courageous general into a traitor and murderer influenced by evil forces. In the following I am going to describe the play briefly and explain the theme of it. Furthermore I will discuss Macbeth’s character and his internal conflict.

While the general Macbeth and his friend Banquo are returning from a victorious battle, King Duncan hears of their courage and bestows the title of Cawdor on the still absent Macbeth. The two warriors encounter three witches who greet Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and „(…) King hereafter“. They prophesize that Banquo will become king though he will not himself be one. Macbeth, who is already Thane of Glamis, is startled when two messengers from the king greet him as the new Thane of Cawdor, thus fulfilling the witches‘ prophecy in part. When Macbeth learns that Duncan’s son Malcolm has been appointed Prince of Cumberland, automatic successor to the throne, he momentarily entertains the idea of killing the king and so begins the ultimate prediction of the witches. Banquo resists any thoughts that might hasten the witches‘ prophecy that his children will be kings. Lady Macbeth, however, strengthens her husband to kill the king and they accomplish it. When the murder is discovered, the king’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, seeing a similar fate for themselves, flee Scotland. Macbeth proceeds to Scone, where he is crowned as Duncan’s successor to the throne. Banquo half-suspects Macbeth of Duncan’s murder but accepts an invitation at the new king’s fiest and attends it with his son Fleance. Macbeth employs two murderers to kill both in an attempt to avoid the second part of the witches‘ prophecies. They kill Banquo but Fleance escapes. Macbeth decides to find the witches to demand...
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