Macbeth was a brave general, serving under King Duncan of Scotland. Once he was returning from a victorious campaign, with another general named Banquo. Three witches met them on the way, and prophesied that Macbeth would become thane (baron) of Cawdor, and also King of Scotland.

       The witches then vanished. Soon after, word reached them that Macbeth was to assume the title of the thane of Cawdor. Part of the witches’ prophecies had come true. This set Macbeth dreaming of ascending the throne.

       King Duncan welcomed Macbeth and Banquo with all praise, and he spent the night at Macbeth’s castle. Macbeth shared the witches’ prophecies with his wife, and her mind was filled with greed. Macbeth stabbed Duncan, and the servants were framed for the murder. The king’s sons fled in fear, and Macbeth assumed the throne. Banquo became suspicious, remembering what the witches had said.

       Macbeth soon had Banquo killed. He was indeed descending into madness. He visited the three witches again, who assured him he was safe – “none of woman born” would harm him; and he would be safe until he sees the forest of Birnam Wood rise against him. Macbeth then ordered the murder of Macduff, the nobleman who had first seen Duncan dead. But Macduff had fled to England, and his entire family was killed, instead.

       Lady Macbeth’s conscience was ridden with guilt, and she killed herself in madness. Macduff and Duncan’s son Malcolm rode back to Scotland with an English army to take revenge, The English soldiers held up branches from the Birnam Wood to hide their real numbers, and it really looked like the forest was moving. And Macduff was not naturally born of his mother. Macbeth was struck down and beheaded by Macduff, and Malcolm inherited his rightful throne.

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