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Macbeth by William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616 Type of Work Tragic fatalistic drama Setting Eleventh-century Scotland Principal Characters Macbeth a noble Scottish chieftain Lady Macbeth his wife Batiquo Macbeths warrior-friend Fleatice Banquos son Duncan King of Scotland a gentle and perfect ruler Macduff a rebel lord Three Witches Story Overveiw On a stormy night Scottish armies managed to suppress a rebellion largely through the valor of two noblemen Macbeth and Banquo They had also frustrated a Viking invasion that had received assistance from a prominent Scotsman the Thane of Cawdor When news of these two events reached Duncan King of Scotland he was delighted with Macbeths performance but insisted that Cawdors treason warranted his death Accordingly the king declared that Cawdor be executed and that Macbeth be named in his stead Thane of Cawdor Meanwhile Macbeth and Banquo on their way home from war happened upon a trio of witches - hags stirring a blackened caldron and heralding Macbeths arrival Double Double toil and trouble The witches astonished the pair by prophesying that Macbeth would become first the new Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland and that Banquo would become the father of kings Then the dark hags vanished leaving Banque and Macbeth to speculate over these strange prophecies No sooner had the witches departed than two of the kings messengers arrived with news that Macbeth had indeed been named to replace the deposed Thane of Cawdor Macbeth was amazed to see the first of the witches prophecies so quickly fulfilled and began to believe in the ultimate fulfillment of the second If he could be Thane of Cawdor perhaps he could rule all of Scotland as well This innocent belief quickly expanded into a deep-seated ambition which began to taint Macbeths mind with dark thoughts Would the prophecy fulfill itself or would he have to take action to usurp the throne Since Duncan was
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