In 1606 William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, wrote a play which would go down in history as the cursed Scottish play after numerous mishaps during production. It was written for his new patron, James I (James VI of Scotland), following the death of Queen Elizabeth. James was interested in witchcraft and Scotland, and hence the themes in the play. Banquo is James's ancestor. The play itself tells the story of a man, urged by his wife and foretold by prophecy, who commits regicide in order to gain power. Unfortunately, due to numerous quirks of language and obscure allusions, the play is difficult to understand without assistance. Using this annotated version along with external links and analysis, to more information, you can now get a better grasp of one the best tragedies ever written, the tale of Macbeth.
Notes on reading this:
The summaries, notes, and definitions are all stored in large files that serve you throughout the play. It is a good idea to let them load completely into your browser's cache the first time you access them, and from then on there will be a minimal de lay.
Try reading through quickly, trying to get the gist and not dwelling on specific phrases. Then come back and use the annotation, as well as your knowledge of English and what is going on, to decipher the wit and depth of each line.
Any differences in spelling of words between the glossary and the text are the result of version differences that pop up in various editions of Shakespeare's works and aren't important.
You are encouraged to look up any words not defined here using the on-line dictionary, but please let us know so we can add them to our list of words as well.
If you need to find anything on our site, be sure to use the search. If you have questions about something not on the site then use the Macbeth Discussion Board, both found in The Interactive Zone. If you want to get the main menu back in the menu frame, click on the Macbeth graphic in the top right corner.
Be sure to check out the Quick Time movies and audio files in the multimedia section, after getting the right helper applications or plug-ins.
We welcome all comments and suggestions
Go to Scene 1