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Related Resources

 Macbeth: Study Guide
 The Theme of Macbeth
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)

 Macbeth Q & A
 Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
 Macbeth Character Analysis
 Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)

 Figures of Speech in Macbeth
 Exploring Dramatic Irony
 The Metre of Macbeth

 Macbeth, Duncan and Shakespeare's Changes
 King James I and Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Contemporary References to King James I in Macbeth
 The Royal Patent that Changed Shakespeare's Life

 The Effect of Lady Macbeth's Death on Macbeth
 Was Macbeth the Third Murderer?
 Differences Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
 A Comparison of Macbeth and Hamlet

 Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
 Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
 Soliloquy Analysis: She should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)

 Stages of Plot Development in Macbeth
 Time Analysis of the Action in Macbeth
 Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
 Psychoanalysis of Lady Macbeth (Sleepwalking Scene)

 Lady Macbeth's Suicide
 Is Lady Macbeth's Swoon Real?
 Explanatory Notes for the Witches' Chants (4.1)
 How to Stage a Production of Macbeth (Scene Suggestions)

 The Curse of Macbeth
 Elizabethan Use of Mummified Flesh
 Three Apparitions in Macbeth
 Supernatural Solicitings in Shakespeare
 Shakespeare on Omens

 Essay Topics on Macbeth
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Macbeth Study Quiz
 Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
 Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth

 On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Shakespeare's Workmanship: Crafting a Sympathetic Macbeth
 Temptation, Sin, Retribution: Lecture Notes on Macbeth
 Untie the winds: Exploring the Witches' Control Over Nature

 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers

Quote in Context

Upon my head they plac'd a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind.
                                                     Macbeth (3.1), Macbeth

Macbeth has killed Duncan and has become king of the Scots, yet he believes his crown is in jeopardy. The menace is Banquo. Like Macbeth, Banquo knows that there were two key parts to the unearthly revelation: first, that Macbeth will become king, and second, that Banquo will beget future kings. Macbeth fears Banquo is planning a coup to hasten the day of triumph for his heirs. Read on...


Points to Ponder

"Macbeth (as I have said and as others have said before me) curiously resembles Greek tragedy in a dozen ways, of which I will mention but one more. Though it is full of blood and images of blood, the important blood-shedding is hidden, removed from the spectator's sight. There is, to be sure, a set scene for Banquo's murder: but it can be omitted without detriment to the play, and, in fact, always is omitted. Duncan is murdered off the stage; Lady Macbeth dies off the stage; Macbeth makes his final exit fighting, to be killed off the stage. There is nothing here like the "blood-bolter'd" culmination of Hamlet" [Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, Shakespeare's Workmanship]. Read on...


Macbeth Facts

In 1849, two competing productions of Macbeth were held on the same night in New York. The result was the worst disaster in theatre history.

The action of the play takes place over nine days. The historical events chronicled in the play actually took place over the period of about eighteen years.

Unlike many of Shakespeare's plays, Macbeth did not appear in quarto or any other format before the First Folio of 1623.

We have a rare first hand account of Macbeth performed at the Globe in 1610.

According to scholar Tucker Brooke, the first recorded performance of Macbeth in America was in 1765 at the John Street Theatre in New York.

On Macbeth's Indifference

"One commentator sees in Macbeth's language at the announcement,
"The queen, my lord, is dead,"
the perfect indifference of a heartless criminal to the fate of the wife who had been so faithful to him. Another thinks Lady Macbeth's death touches him in the only remaining vulnerable point, and calls forth some "deeply serious, solemn, elegiac strains." To us there is spoken a different story still. In these words is embodied a degree of combined bitterness and contempt which could only be wrung from a strong heart driven to the last extreme of desperation" [N. B. Bowman]. Read on...