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Macbeth

Macbeth(1948)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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In the eleventh century, while returning from battle, Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, and Banquo, a general in the king's army, come upon three strange women. Though the present Thane of Cawdor still lives, the women prophesy that Macbeth shall inherit that nobleman's title, and afterward, shall become king. The women then tell Banquo that while he will beget kings, he shall never become one himself. Stunned, Macbeth and Banquo try to question the women further, but they vanish into the mist. Macbeth returns to his castle, and a messenger from Duncan, the king, soon arrives with news that the Thane of Cawdor has been executed for treason, and that all of his holdings have been bestowed upon Macbeth. When Macbeth tells his wife, Lady Macbeth, about the women's prophecy, they both become impatient for its fulfillment. As Duncan has already arranged to spend the evening at their castle at Inverness, the couple decides to murder him during his stay. After Duncan and his entourage arrive, Macbeth wanders the castle restlessly, imagining a dagger floating before his eyes. Later, Lady Macbeth slips a sleeping potion into some wine and then serves it to the grooms stationed outside Duncan's door. The grooms fall asleep, and Lady Macbeth gives her husband a pair of daggers with which to kill Duncan. When Macbeth hesitates, Lady Macbeth belittles him and questions his manhood until he agrees to commit the crime. A few moments later, Macbeth returns from the scene still clutching the bloody daggers in his hands. Panicked, Lady Macbeth grabs the daggers and rushes back to place them in the sleeping grooms's hands. When Macduff, the Thane of Fife, arrives and finds the murdered king, his shouts of "treason!" rouse the entire castle. Feigning outrage, Macbeth rushes forward, grabs the daggers and stabs the grooms before they can speak in their defense. Later, Banquo guesses that Macbeth is the murderer and, fearing for his life, flees to England with Macduff. In their absence, Macbeth is crowned king, but his happiness is marred by the prophesy that his throne will revert to Banquo's progeny after his death. To prevent this from happening, Macbeth hires men to murder Banquo and his son Fleance as they are traveling to a banquet at Macbeth's castle. Although Banquo is killed, Fleance manages to escape. As the banquet is about to begin, Macbeth imagines he sees Banquo sitting at the table with his death wounds still bleeding. When Macbeth begins to mumble and shout incoherently, Lady Macbeth politely dismisses the guests. Later, Macbeth conjures up the three women, who advise him to beware of Macduff, but cryptically promise that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." Nevertheless, the desperate Macbeth orders the slaughter of Macduff's entire household, including his wife, two children and all of his servants. After Macduff learns of the killings, he marshals ten thousand English soldiers to march on the usurper's castle. That evening, while sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth slips off the castle wall to her death. Shortly after Macbeth learns of his wife's death, Macduff's soldiers overrun his castle. Before driving his sword into Macbeth's chest, Macduff declares that he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd."