A raven is one of several larger-bodied species of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus. There is no consistent distinction between "crows" and "ravens", these appellations have been assigned to different species chiefly on the basis of their size, crows being smaller than ravens; the largest raven species are the thick-billed raven. The term "raven" referred to the common raven, the type species of the genus Corvus, which has a larger distribution than any other species of Corvus, ranging over much of the Northern Hemisphere; the modern English word raven has cognates in all other Germanic languages, including Old Norse hrafn and Old High German raban, all of which descend from Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz. Collective nouns for a group of ravens include "unkindness", "treachery", "conspiracy". In practice, most people use the more generic "flock". Corvus albicollis – white-necked raven Corvus corax – common raven Corvus coronoides – Australian raven Corvus crassirostris – thick-billed raven Corvus cryptoleucus – Chihuahuan raven Corvus mellori – little raven Corvus rhipidurus – fan-tailed raven Corvus ruficollis – brown-necked raven Corvus tasmanicus – forest raven †Corvus moriorum – Chatham raven †Corvus antipodum – New Zealand raven †Corvus corax varius morpha leucophaeus – pied raven Cultural depictions of ravens Ravens of the Tower of London Raven videos on the Internet Bird Collection North American ravens on eNature
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
Annals of Ulster
The Annals of Ulster are annals of medieval Ireland. The entries span the years from A. D. 431 to A. D. 1540. The entries up to A. D. 1489 were compiled in the late 15th century by the scribe Ruaidhrí Ó Luinín, under his patron Cathal Óg Mac Maghnusa on the island of Belle Isle on Lough Erne in the kingdom of Fermanagh. Entries were added by others. Entries up to the mid-6th Century are retrospective, drawing on earlier annalistic and historical texts, while entries were contemporary, based on recollection and oral history. T. M. Charles-Edwards has claimed that the main source for its records of the first millennium A. D. is a now lost Armagh continuation of the Chronicle of Ireland. The Annals used the Irish language, with some entries in Latin; because the Annals copied its sources verbatim, they are useful not just for historians, but for linguists studying the evolution of the Irish language. A century the Annals of Ulster became an important source for the authors of the Annals of the Four Masters.
It informs the Irish text Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib. The Library of Trinity College Dublin possesses the original manuscript. There are two main modern English translations of the annals – Mac Airt and Mac Niocaill and MacCarthy. Several kings are mentioned throughout the Annals of Ulster; the Annals tend to follow the lives of the kings, including important battles and their ultimate death. Between the years of 847 and 879, three different kings are highlighted. For example: Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid, the king of the southern Ui Neill clan from 846–862: 839.6 – First mentioned in the Annals of Ulster having killed Crunnmael son of Fiannamail. 841.2 – Kills Diarmait 843.1 – Mael Sechnaill's father, Mael Ruanaid, dies 845.7 – Kills his brother Flann 845.8 – Takes Tuirgéis prisoner 846.7 – Suffers heavy losses at hands of Tigernach 847.2 – Begins his reign. 847.3 – Destroys the Island of Loch Muinremor 848.4 – defeats Vikings at Forach 849.12 – conducts siege in Crupat 850.3 – Cinaed, king of Cianacht, with help from foreign forces rebels against Mael Sechnaill 851.2 – kills Cinaed, king of Cianacht 851.5 – attends conference in Ard Macha 854.2 – took hostages from Mumu at Inneóin na nDéise 856.2 – took hostages from Mumu at Caisel 856.3 – battle against the Vikings 858.4 – marched against Mumu, took hostages from them and travelled with them "from Belat Gabráin to Inis Tarbnai off the Irish coast, from Dún Cermna to Ára Airthir."
859.3 – attends conference at Ráith Aeda Meic Bric "to make peace and amity between the men of Ireland" 860.1 – leads army into the north, but hold position 862.5 – Dies and is described as "king of all Ireland"The same pattern is followed for Aed mac Neill, the king of the northern Ui Neill clan. Aed mac Neill appears in the following entries in the Annals of Ulster: 855.3, 856.5, 860.1, 861.1, 862.2, 862.3, 863.2, 864.1, 864.3, 866.4, 868.4, 870.2, 874.4, 879.1 The final entry ends with the entry about his death and includes a poem. It reads "Aed son of Niall, king of Temair, fell asleep on the twelfth of the Kalends of 20 December Nov at Druim Inasclainn in the territory of Conaille. 1. "Just as with the Irish kings, the Annals of Ulster follow the lives of the Viking kings of Dublin. For example, Amlaíb Conung is mentioned in the following entries: 853.2, 857.1, 859.2, 863.4, 864.2, 866.1, 867.8, 869.6, 870.6, 871.2, 875.4 The final entry deviates from the Irish kings and instead tells of the death of Amlaib’s son, Oistín and reads: "Oistín son of Amlaíb, king of the Norsemen, was deceitfully killed by Albann."
Along with kings and kingdoms, the entries in the Annals of Ulster focus on important places of Ireland such as Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland which appears several times throughout the text. Dublin for example, referred to in the text as either Áth Cliath or Duiblinn, is described in the Annals of Ulster with entries ranging from the settlement of Dublin by Vikings to deaths of notable names to Dublin being ruled by the Irish; the town appears 66 different times in the Annals of Ulster and can be found in the following entries: 770.1, 790.2, 841.4, 842.2, 842.7, 845.12, 851.3, 870.2, 871.2 893.4, 895.6, 902.2, 917.4, 919.3, 920.5, 921.5, 921.8, 924.3, 926.6, 927.3, 930.1, 936.2, 938.5, 938.6, 939.1, 942.3, 942.7, 944.3, 945.6, 946.1, 947.1, 950.7, 951.3, 951.7, 956.3, 960.2, 961.1, 978.3, 980.1, 994.6, 995.2, 999.8, 1000.4, 1013.12, 1013.13, 1014.2, 1018.2, 1021.1, 1022.4, 1031.2, 1035.5, 1070.2, 1075.1, 1075.4, 1084.8, 1088.4, 1094.2, 1095.4, 1100.5, 1103.5, 1105.3, 1115.4, 1118.6, 1121.7, 1126.7, 1128.6 The Annals of Ulster contain a large amount of historical information on the invasions of the Vikings into Ireland and several specific events are mentioned that are paralleled in other Irish works such as the Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib.
The Annals of Ulster documents the Viking invasions one year after the common starting event of the Viking Period, the raiding of Lindisfarne in 793, as mentioned by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The first mentioning of the Vikings is brief. "794.7 Devastation of all the islands of Br
Macbeth, King of Scotland
Macbeth was King of Scots from 1040 until his death. He was titled King of Alba during his life, ruled over only a portion of present-day Scotland. Little is known about Macbeth's early life, although he was the son of Findláech of Moray and may have been a grandson of Malcolm II, he became Mormaer of Moray – a semi-autonomous lordship – in 1032, was responsible for the death of the previous mormaer, Gille Coemgáin. He subsequently married Gille Coemgáin's widow, although they had no children together. In 1040, Duncan I was killed in action by Macbeth's troops. Macbeth succeeded him as King of Alba with little opposition, his 17-year reign was peaceful, although in 1054 he was faced with an English invasion, led by Siward, Earl of Northumbria, on behalf of Edward the Confessor. Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 by forces loyal to the future Malcolm III, he was buried on the traditional resting place of Scottish kings. Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach, but Lulach ruled for only a few months before being killed by Malcolm III, whose descendants would rule Scotland until the late 13th century.
Macbeth is today best known as the main character of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth and the many works it has inspired. However, Shakespeare's Macbeth is based on Holinshed's Chronicles and is not accurate. Macbeth's full name in Medieval Gaelic was Mac Bethad mac Findlaích; this is realised as MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh in Modern Gaelic, anglicised as Macbeth MacFinlay. The name Mac Bethad, from which the anglicised "MacBeth" is derived, means "son of life". Although it has the appearance of a Gaelic patronymic it does not have any meaning of filiation but instead carries an implication of "righteous man" or "religious man". An alternative proposed derivation is that it is a corruption of macc-bethad meaning "one of the elect"; some sources make Macbeth a grandson of King Malcolm II and thus a cousin to Duncan I, whom he succeeded. He was also a cousin to Thorfinn the Mighty, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Nigel Tranter, in his novel Macbeth the King, went so far as to portray Macbeth as Thorfinn's half-brother.
However, this is speculation arising from the lack of historical certainty regarding the number of daughters Malcolm had. When Cnut the Great came north in 1031 to accept the submission of King Malcolm II, Macbeth too submitted to him:... Malcolm, king of the Scots, submitted to him, became his man, with two other kings and Iehmarc... Some have seen this as a sign of Macbeth's power. Whatever the true state of affairs in the early 1030s, it seems more probable that Macbeth was subject to the king of Alba, Malcolm II, who died at Glamis, on 25 November 1034; the Prophecy of Berchán alone in near-contemporary sources, says Malcolm died a violent death, calling it a "kinslaying" without naming his killers. Tigernach's chronicle says only: Máel Coluim son of Cináed, king of Alba, the honour of western Europe, died. Malcolm II's grandson Duncan King Duncan I, was acclaimed as king of Alba on 30 November 1034 without opposition. Duncan appears to have been tánaise ríg, the king in waiting, so that far from being an abandonment of tanistry, as has sometimes been argued, his kingship was a vindication of the practice.
Previous successions had involved strife between various rígdomna – men of royal blood. Far from being the aged King Duncan of Shakespeare's play, the real King Duncan was a young man in 1034, at his death in 1040 his youthfulness is remarked upon. Duncan's early reign was uneventful, his reign, in line with his description as "the man of many sorrows" in the Prophecy of Berchán, was not successful. In 1039, Strathclyde was attacked by the Northumbrians, a retaliatory raid led by Duncan against Durham turned into a disaster. Duncan survived the defeat, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth's domain on a punitive expedition against Moray. There he was killed in action, at Bothnagowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth on 14 August 1040. On Duncan's death, Macbeth became king. No resistance is known at that time, but it would have been normal if his reign were not universally accepted. In 1045, Duncan's father Crínán of Dunkeld was killed in a battle between two Scottish armies.
John of Fordun wrote that Duncan's wife fled Scotland, taking her children, including the future kings Malcolm III and Donald III with her. On the basis of the author's beliefs as to whom Duncan married, various places of exile and Orkney among them, have been proposed. However, E. William Robertson proposes the safest place for Duncan's widow and her children would be with her or Duncan's kin and supporters in Atholl. After the defeat of Crínán, Macbeth was evidently unchallenged. Marianus Scotus tells how the king made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, Marianus says, he gave money to the poor as if it were seed; the Orkneyinga Saga says that a dispute between Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney, Karl Hundason began when Karl Hundason became "King of Scots" and claimed Caithness. The identity of Karl Hundason, unknow
The Orkneyinga saga is a historical narrative of the history of the Orkney and Shetland islands and their relationship with other local polities Norway and Scotland. The saga has "no parallel in the social and literary record of Scotland" and is "the only medieval chronicle to have Orkney as the central place of action"; the main focus of the work is the line of jarls who ruled the Earldom of Orkney, which constituted the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of both Orkney and Shetland and there are frequent references to both archipelagoes throughout. The narrative commences with a brief mythical ancestry tale and proceeds to outline the Norse take-over of the Norðreyjar by Harald Fairhair – the former event is not in doubt although the role of the latter King of Norway is no longer accepted by historians as a likelihood; the saga outlines, with varying degrees of detail, the lives and times of the many jarls who ruled the islands between the 9th and 13th centuries. The extent to which the earlier sections in particular can be considered genuine history rather than fiction have been much debated by scholars.
There are several recurring themes in the Orkneyinga saga, including strife between brothers, relationships between the jarls and the Norwegian crown, raiding in the Suðreyjar – the Hebrides. In part, the saga's purpose was to provide a history of the islands and enable its readers to "understand themselves through a knowledge of their origins" but where its historical veracity is lacking it provides modern scholars with insights into the motives of the writers and the politics of 13th century Orkney; this Norse saga was written around in the early thirteenth century by an unknown Icelandic author, associated with the cultural centre at Oddi. Orkneyinga saga belongs to the genre of "Kings’ Sagas" within Icelandic saga literature, a group of histories of the kings of Norway, the best known of, Heimskringla, written by Snorri Sturluson. Indeed Sturluson used Orkneyinga saga as one of his sources for Heimskringla, compiled around 1230; as was the case with Icelandic language writing of this period, the aims of the saga were to provide a sense of social continuity through the telling of history combined with an entertaining narrative drive.
The tales are thought to have been compiled from a number of sources, combining family pedigrees, praise poetry and oral legends with historical facts. In the case of the Orkneyinga saga the document outlines the lives of the earls of Orkney and how they came about their earldom. Woolf suggests that the task that the Icelandic compiler was faced with was not dissimilar to trying to write a "history of the Second World War on the basis of Hollywood movies", he notes that a problem with medieval Icelandic historiography in general is the difficulty of fixing of a clear chronology based on stories created in a illiterate society in which "AD dating was unknown" at the time. As the narrative approaches the period closer to the time it was written down, historians have greater confidence in its accuracy. For example, there are significant family connections between Snorri Sturluson and Earl Harald Maddadsson and the original saga document was written down at about the time of Harald's death. Vigassun identifies several different components to the saga, which may have had different authors and date from different periods.
These are: Fundinn Noregr chapters 1–3 Iarla Sogur chapters 4–38 St Magnus saga chapters 39–55 Iarteina-bok chapter 60 The History of Earl Rognwald and Swain Asleifsson chapters 56–59 and 61–118. A Danish translation dating to 1570 indicates that the original version of the saga ended with the death of Sweyn Asleifsson, killed fighting in Dublin in 1171. Various additions were added circa 1234-5 when a grandson of Asleifsson and a lawmaker called Hrafn visited Iceland; the oldest complete text is found in the late 14th century Flateyjarbók but the first translation into English did not appear until 1873. The first three chapters of the saga are a brief folk legend that sets the scene for events, it commences with characters associated with the elements – Snaer, Logi and Frosti and gives a unique explanation for how Norway came to be named as such, involving Snaer's grandson Nór. There is a reference to claiming land by dragging a boat over a neck of land and the division of the land between Nór and his brother Gór, a recurring theme in the saga.
This legend gives the Orkney jarls an origin involving a giant and king called Fornjót who lived in the far north. This distinguishes them from the Norwegian kings as described in the Ynglingatal and may have been intended to give the jarls a more senior and more Nordic ancestry. Having dealt with the mythical ancestry of the earls, the saga moves on to topics that are intended as genuine history; the next few chapters deal with the creation of the Earldom of Orkney. The saga states that Rognvald Eysteinsson was made the Earl of Møre by the King of Norway, Harald Fairhair. Rognvald accompanied the king on a great military expedition. First the islands of Shetland and Orkney were cleared of vikings, raiding Norway and they continued on to Scotland and the Isle of Man. During this campaig
Sigurd the Stout
Sigurd Hlodvirsson, popularly known as Sigurd the Stout from the Old Norse Sigurðr digri, was an Earl of Orkney. The main sources for his life are the Norse Sagas, which were first written down some two centuries or more after his death; these engaging stories must therefore be treated with caution rather than as reliable historical documents. Sigurd was a direct descendent of Torf-Einarr Rognvaldson. Sigurd's tenure as earl was free of the kin-strife that beset some other incumbents of this title and he was able to pursue his military ambitions over a wide area, he held lands in the north of mainland Scotland and in the Sudrøyar, he may have been instrumental in the defeat of Gofraid mac Arailt, King of the Isles. The Annals of Ulster record his death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, the earliest known reference to the earldom of Orkney; the saga tales draw attention to Sigurd's conversion to Christianity and his use of a totemic raven banner, a symbol of the Norse God Odin. This ambiguous theme and the lack of detailed contemporary records of his life have led to a variety of interpretations of the saga material by modern scholars.
The sources for Sigurd's life are exclusively Norse sagas, none of which were written down at the time of the events they record. The Orkneyinga Saga was first compiled in Iceland in the early 13th century and much of the information it contains is "hard to corroborate". Sigurd appears in St Olaf's Saga as incorporated into the Heimskringla and in the Eyrbyggja Saga. There are various tales about his exploits in the more fanciful Njal's Saga as well as the Saga of Gunnlaugr Serpent-Tongue, Thorstein Sidu-Hallsson's Saga, the Vatnsdæla Saga and in the tale of "Helgi and Wolf" in the Flateyjarbók; the Orkneyinga Saga reports that Sigurd was the son of Hlodvir, one of the five sons of Thorfinn Skull-Splitter, Eithne. She is said to be a daughter of a "King Kjarvalr"; the period after Earl Thorfinn's death was one of dynastic strife. Sigurd's patronymic is an unusual one and there would appear to be a connection with this name and the early roots of the modern French name "Louis". Sigurd was in the fortunate position that on his accession to the earldom there seem to have been no other serious contenders.
In this respect his rule was unlike that of the earlier generation of the sons of Earl Thorfinn and of the next generation in that it avoided the bitter feuding that beset the earldom during both of those periods. Sigurd's great-grandfather, Torf-Einarr, lost the udal rights of the Orkney and Shetland farmers as part of a deal he brokered with the Norwegian crown; these rights were restored by Sigurd. The Burray hoard of silver ring-money has been dated to the period 997-1010, during Earl Sigurd's reign. Sigurd's domain included not just Orkney itself but Shetland, which formed part of the earldom and extensive lands on mainland Scotland. For the latter his overlords were the Kings of Scotland rather than of Norway; the extent of these mainland dominions is uncertain. According to the rather dubious source, Njal's Saga, they included Ross, Moray and the Dales. At the time Moray would have included districts on the west coast including Lochaber. Smyth notes the density of dalr placenames on Scotland's west coast and it has been suggested that "the Dales" is a reference to Dalriada, although it is more that it means Caithness.
During Sigurd's tenure the earldom approached its high point and his influence was only exceeded by that of his son Thorfinn. Sigurd's uncle Ljot had been killed in war against the Scots, Sigurd soon faced trouble from his southern neighbours. According to the Orkneyinga saga "Earl Finnleik" led an army against him which outnumbered Sigurd's forces by seven to one; the saga records Sigurd's mother's reply when he went to her for advice: Had I thought you might live for I'd have reared you in my wool-basket. But lifetimes are shaped by, not by where you are. Now, take this banner. I've made it for you with all the skill I have, my belief is this: it will bring victory to the man it's carried before, but death to the one who carries it; the Raven banner worked as just Sigurd's mother said: he was victorious but three standard-bearers in succession were killed. A battle was fought between Norwegian forces and Malcolm II of Scotland at Mortlach c. 1005 which may have involved or been led by Sigurd.
Although victory went to the Scots, the Norwegians had spent some considerable time encamped in Moray and came equipped with a large fleet. However, Orcadian influence in this part of Scotland is to have been temporary and on other occasions, such as during his uncle Ljot's earldom, Scottish forces had pushed north into Caithness. Sigurd the Stout took control of the Hebrides, placed a jarl called Gilli in charge. Njal's Saga records an expedition that took place c. 980 in which Kari, Sigurd's bodyguard, plundered the Hebrides, Kintyre and "Bretland". On another occasion Kari sailed through The Minch in order to collect tribute from Gilli, whose base may have been either Colonsay or Coll; the Annals of Ulster record a raid by "the Danes" on Iona on Christmas Night in which the abbot and fifteen of the elders of the monastery were slaughtered and this may have been connected with the successful conquering of the Isle of Man by Sigurd and Gilli between 985 and 989. Njal's Saga records a victory for Sigurd over Gofraid mac Arailt, King of the Isles with the former returning to Orkney with the spoils.
The contemporary Annals of Ulster recor
Macbeth is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. It dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. Of all the plays that Shakespeare wrote during the reign of James I, patron of Shakespeare's acting company, Macbeth most reflects the playwright's relationship with his sovereign, it was first published in the Folio of 1623 from a prompt book, is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy. A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself, he is wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler; the bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death. Shakespeare's source for the story is the account of King of Scotland.
The events of the tragedy are associated with the execution of Henry Garnet for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed, will not mention its title aloud, referring to it instead as "The Scottish Play". Over the course of many centuries, the play has attracted some of the most renowned actors to the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, it has been adapted to film, opera, novels and other media. The play opens amid thunder and lightning, the Three Witches decide that their next meeting will be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded sergeant reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the traitorous Macdonwald, the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth, the King's kinsman, is praised for his fighting prowess. In the following scene and Banquo discuss the weather and their victory; as they wander onto a heath, the Three Witches greet them with prophecies.
Though Banquo challenges them first, they address Macbeth, hailing him as "Thane of Glamis," "Thane of Cawdor," and that he will "be King hereafter." Macbeth appears to be stunned to silence. When Banquo asks of his own fortunes, the witches respond paradoxically, saying that he will be less than Macbeth, yet happier, less successful, yet more, he will father a line of kings, though he himself will not be one. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the witches vanish, another thane, Ross and informs Macbeth of his newly bestowed title: Thane of Cawdor; the first prophecy is thus fulfilled, Macbeth sceptical begins to harbour ambitions of becoming king. King Duncan welcomes and praises Macbeth and Banquo, declares that he will spend the night at Macbeth's castle at Inverness. Macbeth sends a message ahead to Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches' prophecies. Lady Macbeth suffers none of her husband's uncertainty and wishes him to murder Duncan in order to obtain kingship; when Macbeth arrives at Inverness, she overrides all of her husband's objections by challenging his manhood and persuades him to kill the king that night.
He and Lady Macbeth plan to get Duncan's two chamberlains. They will be defenceless. While Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him, despite his doubts and a number of supernatural portents, including a hallucination of a bloody dagger, he is so shaken. In accordance with her plan, she frames Duncan's sleeping servants for the murder by placing bloody daggers on them. Early the next morning, Lennox, a Scottish nobleman, Macduff, the loyal Thane of Fife, arrive. A porter opens the gate and Macbeth leads them to the king's chamber, where Macduff discovers Duncan's body. Macbeth murders the guards to prevent them from professing their innocence, but claims he did so in a fit of anger over their misdeeds. Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland fearing that whoever killed Duncan desires their demise as well; the rightful heirs' flight makes them suspects and Macbeth assumes the throne as the new King of Scotland as a kinsman of the dead king. Banquo reveals this to the audience, while sceptical of the new King Macbeth, he remembers the witches' prophecy about how his own descendants would inherit the throne.
Despite his success, Macbeth aware of this part of the prophecy, remains uneasy. Macbeth invites Banquo to a royal banquet, where he discovers that Banquo and his young son, will be riding out that night. Fearing Banquo's suspicions, Macbeth arranges to have him murdered, by hiring two men to kill them sending a Third Murderer; the assassins succeed in killing Banquo. Macbeth becomes furious: he fears that his power remains insecure as long as an heir of Banquo remains alive. At a banquet, Macbeth invites Lady Macbeth to a night of drinking and merriment. Banquo's ghost sits in Macbeth's place. Macbeth raves fearfully, as the ghost is only visible to him; the others panic at the sight of Macbeth ragi