Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, and is also called The Scottish play. Comprised of five acts, it starts by predicting tragedy, as three witches agree to meet up again after a battle is fought (setting the context for the play). Rich in imagery and with the idea prevalent that the state of nature affects the state of the world, there is thunder, lightning, doom and gloom.
A whistlestop summary of the plot follows: Macbeth starts off being portrayed as a hero, having led King Duncan's forces successfully in battle, and hence will get a new title. The witches flatter his ego by telling him of the titles he will accrue - more than he could ever have hoped - and that he will become king, ultimately.
From then on, Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth become 'evil', and pursue the witches' prediction, and plot to kill Duncan. They have become greedy from the prediction. The play then follows their corruption, the murders they commit, and their ultimate downfall. They first kill the King at his visit to their castle. Macbeth becomes king - the prophecy is realised. Banquo too is killed to reduce the threat to Macbeth's kingship - even his once good friend is not safe.
Macbeth is told to be wary of Macduff and therefore decides he needs to be killed. An army is gathered by Malcolm and Macduff to defeat Macbeth. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth has gone totally mad, consumed with guilt from her evil deeds and plotting. She dies, but Macbeth is not moved by the news.
Finally, the great battle starts and Macbeth is ultimately killed by Macduff. Malcolm becomes king, and order is restored. Good wins, and evil, corruption and human greed is slain.
More has been written about the Shakespeare plays than practically has been written about all other books in total... so all that remains to be said is that this play really is recommended. It is easy to read and accessible, and identifies with timeless themes - the corrupting nature of power and greed, and the terrible affects this can have. An absorbing read.
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