Q:

What is a quick plot summary of "Macbeth?"

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Quick Answer

"Macbeth" follows the title character's ill-fated journey from a comfortable position as a prominent soldier to that of a murderous king who is killed shortly after taking the throne. This is a classic tale of greed, ego, morality and the dangers of lust for power.

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Full Answer

"Macbeth," sometimes referred to as "the Scottish play" by superstitious theatre types, is a famous masterwork by William Shakespeare. The play, which is supposedly based on a true story, tells the tale of Macbeth, a prominent and powerful soldier who receives a prophecy predicting that he will one day become king. This prophecy kicks off a series of bloody and tragic events with Macbeth seemingly losing his sanity to a lust for power. His descent into madness is arguably hastened by Lady Macbeth, his scheming wife, who suggests that her husband should kill the king to take his throne. Though he is crowned king after committing regicide, Macbeth ends up dead soon after.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the similes in "Macbeth"?

    A:

    In "Macbeth," there are a number of similes including the similes found in: Act I, Scene II 3-5; Act I, Scene II 7-9; Act I Scene III 97; and Act V Scene Viii 43. The first simile is "This is the sergeant / Who like a good and hardy solider fought / 'Gainst my captivity.

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  • Q:

    Why are the witches important in Macbeth?

    A:

    The three witches, also known as the Weird Sisters, who appear in "Macbeth" are important to the play as a catalyst that propels Macbeth to pursue his ambition to become king. The witches are also important to the play as symbols of fate, temptation, evil and the supernatural.

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  • Q:

    What supernatural events occur in Macbeth?

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    Events in "Macbeth" like the prophecy of the witches, floating dagger and the ghost of Banquo are supernatural in nature. These supernatural events serve as symbols in service of the larger themes of the play of ambition and masculinity.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of dramatic irony in "Macbeth?"

    A:

    Any moment in the play "Macbeth" when the audience is privy to more pertinent information than one or more characters onstage is an instance of dramatic irony. An example is when King Duncan exhibits a positive outlook upon arriving at Inverness, where the audience already knows he will be murdered. Shakespeare Online posits that this play is exceptional for its pervasive use of dramatic irony.

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