This study guide will help you analyze William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. We give you notes on the play, summaries, background information about the Elizabethan era, and in-depth analysis of popular scenes. We also suggest ways to interpreting the play and put it into perspective.
Note: A text version of Macbeth can be found online as well as in various textbooks. While the numbers of acts and scenes are always the same, line numbers may vary depending on the edition. The quotes in this webbook have been taken from The Complete Macbeth. An Annotated Edition of the Shakespeare Play by Donald J. Richardson, 2013.
Presentation of the text
Title: The Tragedy of Macbeth (1623)
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Macbeth is considered one of Shakespeare's greatest dramatic works, despite being one of the shortest. It is believed that the play was first performed in 1606 in front of the Danish King Christian IV and the British King James I, who also financially supported Shakespeare's theater troupe. James I was a Scotsman, and Shakespeare is believed to have included a tribute to James I in his play about royal power struggles in Scotland.
The play was first published in 1623 in the so-called First Folio of Shakespeare's complete plays.
You can find more information on how to analyze a Shakespeare play in our topic guide about William Shakespeare.
Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: