The Tragedy of Macbeth (commonly called Macbeth) is a play by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 about a regicide
The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

 and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy
Shakespearean tragedy
Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy Titus Andronicus, which he followed a few years later with Romeo and Juliet. However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608...

 and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. The earliest account of a performance of what was probably Shakespeare's play is April 1611, when Simon Forman
Simon Forman
Simon Forman was arguably the most popular Elizabethan astrologer, occultist and herbalist active in London during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and James I of England. His reputation, however, was severely tarnished after his death when he was implicated in the plot to kill Sir Thomas Overbury...

 recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre
Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613...

. It was first published in the Folio of 1623
First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio....

, possibly from a prompt book
Prompt book
The prompt book, also called promptbook, transcript, the bible or sometimes simply "the book," is the copy of a production script that contains the information necessary to create the production from the ground up...


Shakespeare's source for the tragedy are the accounts of King Macbeth of Scotland
Macbeth of Scotland
Mac Bethad mac Findlaích was King of the Scots from 1040 until his death...

, Macduff, and Duncan
Duncan I of Scotland
Donnchad mac Crínáin was king of Scotland from 1034 to 1040...

 in Holinshed's Chronicles
Holinshed's Chronicles
Holinshed's Chronicles, also known as Holinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is a collaborative work published in several volumes and two editions, the first in 1577, and the second in 1587....

(1587), a history of England, Scotland and Ireland familiar to Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

First Witch: When shall we three meet againIn thunder, lightning, or in rain?Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done,When the battle's lost and won.

Scene i

Fair is foul, and foul is fair;Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Witches, scene i

The merciless Macdonwald(Worthy to be a rebel, — for, to that,The multiplying villainies of natureDo swarm upon him) from the Western IslesOf kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,Showed like a rebel's whore: but all's too weak:For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel,Which smoked with bloody execution,Like valour's minion,Carv'd out his passage.

Captain, scene ii

A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,And munched, and munched, and munched:Give me, quoth I:Aroint thee, witch! the rump-fed ronyon cries.

First Witch, scene iii

Sleep shall neither night nor dayHang upon his pent-house lid.

First Witch, scene iii

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

Macbeth, scene iii

If you can look into the seeds of time,And say which grain will grow, and which will not,Speak.

Banquo, scene iii

The earth hath bubbles, as water has,And these are of them.

Banquo, scene iii

Or have we eaten on the insane rootThat takes the reason prisoner?

Banquo, scene iii