I. The Plot Type: Romantic Tragedy ( 浪漫悲劇 ) Time: 11th Century Locale: Scotland ( 蘇格蘭 ) First presented: 1606
II. Principal Characters: Duncan: King of Scotland Malcolm & Donalbain : His sons Macbeth & Banquo: His generals Fleance: Banquo’s son Macduff & Rosse, etc.: Noblemen Lady Macbeth & Lady Macduff Three Witches & a Porter
III. The Story: 第一幕： The Witches wait for the end of the battle “lost and won.” Macbeth wins victory over Norwegian invasion. Duncan orders the execution of the thane of Cawdor and invests Macbeth with that title. Macbeth & Banquo meet the Witches, who hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and “King hereafter,” and say Banquo will beget kings. Rosse and Angus bring the king’s thanks. Duncan receives all of them, names Malcolm his heir, and says he intends to visit Macbeth at Inverness. Lady Macbeth learns the news, decides to kill the king, and urges Macbeth to do that. Lady Macbeth plans to have the king’s guards drunk.
III. The Story: 第二幕： At Macbeth’s castle, Macbeth and Banquo talk over the prophecies. Afterwards Macbeth imagines a dagger leading him to the king. Lady Macbeth arranges everything well and the murder is done. Macbeth returns and imagines a voice announcing he has murdered sleep. Lady Macbeth takes the bloody daggers to incriminate the sleeping grooms. The drunken porter admits Lenox and Macduff. Macduff finds the king murdered. Macbeth kills the two grooms. Malcolm and Donalbain slip away, one to England and the other to Ireland. They are rumored to have been the murderers. Macbeth is named King and crowned at Scone.
III. The Story: 第三幕： Banquo suspects Macbeth’s guilt. Macbeth urges his presence at a banquet. Banquo and Fleance ride out before the banquet. Macbeth persuades two malcontents to kill Banquo and Fleance. Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes. Macbeth toasts his guests at the banquet and sees Banquo’s bloody ghost. Macbeth’s strange manners make Lady Macbeth dismiss the party. The next day they go to consult the Weird Sisters and Hecate. Meanwhile, Macduff has gone to England to raise an army to unseat Macbeth.
III. The Story: 第四幕： At the witches’ cavern, three apparitions warn Macbeth to beware Macduff but assure him that no man born of woman can harm him and that he cannot be defeated until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. Macbeth then determines to slaughter Macduff’s family. Lady Macduff and her son are warned to fly, but cannot escape in time. In England, Macduff wins Malcolm’s trust and revolts have arisen against Macbeth’s tyrannical rule.
III. The Story: 第五幕： Lady Macbeth suffers from strange nocturnal walkings and washings of her hands. Scottish rebels against Macbeth have approached Birnam. Malcolm orders each soldier to disguise himself behind a bough. Thus Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane. Macbeth is told his wife’s death and the coming of the Birnam wood. He resolves to die in battle. He kills young Siward and is himself killed by Macduff, who, instead of being “of woman born,” was prematurely ripped from his mother’s womb.
IV. Famous Lines: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” -- the Witches “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of Darkness tell us truths; Win us with honest trifles, to betray us In deepest consequence.” -- Banquo
IV. Famous Lines: “Yet do I fear thy nature: It is too full of the milk of human kindness, To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great; Are not without ambition, but without The illness [which] should attend it.” -- Lady Macbeth “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself And falls on the other [side of the saddle].” -- Macbeth
IV. Famous Lines “I have given suck, and know How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn As you have done to this.” --Lady Macbeth “Me thought, I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder Sleep,’—the innocent Sleep.” --Macbeth to his lady
IV. Famous Lines: “Lechery, Sir, it provokes, and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him.... in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.” -- the Porter “There’s daggers in men’s smiles: the near in blood, The nearer bloody.” -- Donalbain “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.” -- Macbeth “Security is mortals’ chiefest enemy.” -- Hecate
IV. Famous Lines “Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to scorn The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” --2nd apparition “Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.” --3rd apparition
IV. Famous Lines: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” -- Macbeth
V. Discussion: What is the theme of the play? About ambition or equivocation? About signification or what? What do the Three Witches ( or Weird Sisters) stand for? What sort of man is Macbeth and what sort of woman is Lady Macbeth?