William Shakespeare may have written some of the greatest plays of all time, but they aren’t exactly easy to dip into – that is until now of course. If you need to sound like an expert in 96 seconds time then you’re in the right place. Here’s all you need to know about the 400 year old revenge-tragedy bloodbath that is Macbeth.
Macbeth in 96 seconds – Transcript
After a battle, three witches tell general Macbeth he’ll soon be king but then so will his best mate Banquo’s descendant. Macbeth gets obsessed with the thought of being king which develops one of the play’s main themes, the corrupting influence of ambition. Lady Macbeth decides they should whack king Duncan to get the throne. Macbeth’s iffy about the murder but does it anyway but then freaks out. Lady M. takes over and frames some servants. Before they can spill the beans, Macbeth kills them. Macbeth’s rival general MacDuff is well sussed.
Macky B becomes king, but mindful of the other part of the witches’ prediction plots to have Banquo and his son Fleance murdered. Fleance escapes, Banquo ’s killed. Later Banquo’s ghost turns up, causing Macbeth to have a massive break down, but he recovers. The witches say Macbeth can’t be killed by anyone of woman born and he’ll be king until a forest marches up a hill. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Confident while Macduff’s away in England, Macbeth kills Macduff’s family, Then Lady M. goes mad, sleepwalking and confessing to all their sins and then kills herself or dies or disappears, it’s not clear.
Disguised with leaves and branches, MacDuff’s army attacks. At the big showdown Macduff reveals he was … born by cesarean, so he’s not actually a woman-born in a technical sense.
Macduff chops off Macbeth’s head and king Duncan’s son Malcolm takes over the throne of Scotland.
Want to sound clever? Compare all this backstabbing that goes on in Washington and Westminster today or mention that the play was originally performed for king James I, who supposedly descended from Banquo, making the witches’ first prediction the biggest theatrical in-joke of all time.
frame – To make up evidence or contrive events so as to incriminate (a person) falsely. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/frame
whack 1. adj; appalling in nature, unconventional. 2. verb; to strike one with the hand or fist. 3. verb; to assassinate.
iffy adj, informal – not certain
spill the beans (to let the cat out of the bag)
sussed, tr.v. suss·ing, suss·es Slang. 1. To infer or discover; figure out: “I think I’m good at sussing out what’s going on” (Ry Cooder). 2. To size up; study: “Suss … www.thefreedictionary.com/sussed