Shakespeare's Macbeth is one of the greatest tragic dramas the world has known. Macbeth himself, a brave warrior, is fatally impelled by supernatural forces, by his proud wife, and by his own burgeoning ambition.
The play is set in Scotland. Returning from battle with his companion Banquo, the nobleman Macbeth meets a group of witches. They predict that Macbeth will first become thane (baron) of Cawdor and then king of Scotland. Urged on by Lady Macbeth, his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan. But Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, escape. Macbeth then seizes the throne of Scotland. But Macbeth has no peace. In a bid to prevent Banquo's descendants from becoming kings according to the witches' prophecy, Macbeth arranges for him to be murdered, along with his son Fleance. Macbeth's men kill Banquo, but Fleance escapes. Haunted by Banquo's ghost, Macbeth seeks counsel from the witches. They tell him to beware of Macduff, another Scottish nobleman. Macbeth is now hardened to killing. He orders the murder of Macduff's wife and children. By contrast, Lady Macbeth, who had encouraged her husband to embark upon his path of slaughter, goes mad with guilt and dies. Macduff's army attacks Macbeth's forces. Macduff meets Macbeth in single combat and kills him. Malcolm, Duncan's son, is then proclaimed king of Scotland.